Grimwyrd: Hearts and Minds

Fiss: zupdawg
Joush M.: Herd the kids into their storage box?
Ken (GM): oh god if only
just got the new car
Ken (GM): went for celebratory A&W burgs
immediately burst a root beer all over wife
kid 1 got yam fries, bitched about said fries
Ken (GM): notoriously picky eater
Joush M.: >Wife Will Remember This (-1 Opinion)
Ken (GM): kid 2, very tired, no nap for an hour
urge to kill….rising
Joush M.: I hate it when that happens.. “I want to try this.. this is awful, and it is your fault”
Ken (GM): kids lesson zero; best and worst things in yo life
Fiss: Kids are just little drunk adults. With more poop.
But they’re pretty funny so long as they aren’t trying to shove their fingers into wall sockets.
Ken (GM): ^^^
also; fyi. kev is dropping out due to long term family illness. Also the reason for his multiple afk emergencies and absences
P.P. A.: Looking back, I don’t think my fingers were tiny enough to even fit into the wall sockets’ tiny holes; but these are Euro wall sockets, maybe US ones are bigger
also I guess it instills a due fear of the things which forestalls trying to stick thin metal objects into them
And yeah, heard about Kev 😦
Fiss: It’s not so much success/failure as the will to try…and eventually connecting the idea that butter knives fit where fingers don’t
P.P. A.: tru
Ken (GM): “should the standard hole be smaller?”
“nah, let ’em learn”
so, Bomrek is certainly still just on standard operating procedure with me running him. Not much to change there, but I wanted to be clear about Kev disappearing.
(I didnt kill him, I swear)
so other than MY drama llama; how you guys?
Joush M.: I’m doing okay. Maybe a bit sore and tired but I’ll be fine.
P.P. A.: Not bad, thanks
Fiss: Meh day at work. But kiddo’s b-day next week so I’m technically only working 2 days in a row. Figure that will help.
Ken (GM): huzzah to convenient children!

Ken (GM): hokay then; so where last we left you guys, the battle of the bridge had been won and you were recuperating. The men were in good spirits despite the losses, as Gray had immediately tended to their fall with a (anti-undead) pyre and funerary service

Fiss is resting, having spent herself almost entirely on skeleton-dusting.
Syviis also
Ken (GM): lulz
Syviis: thats what I get for forgetting Elf-Mode…NEVER FORGET ELF-MODE!

Ken (GM): Is Gray much opposed to the acolytes helping out with the ceremonies? They have some rites they seem to want to follow, and are keen to get your insights as a “spirit talker”
Joush M.: Nope, Gray’s happy for the help and certainly allows them to follow their own traditions for the dead
Ken(GM): Well then, Gray has all the help he could ask for; The two fallen jerky-fied acolytes are interred with the other men squashed by the giant, and a quick pyre is built and fired (collecting nearby stacked firewood from the barracks)

Ken (GM): Suðri! You had expressed concerns for the bridge’s structural ability before the end of last week; did you want to investigate?
P.P. A.: Of course!
Suðri Skornbrekker does his duty as a dorf-mason and inspects the bridge, wracked with guilt however as he assigns the blame to himself.
Ken (GM): >guilt complex intensifies
Roll against architecture for me?

Gray looks to the bridge, the exposed underworks of it but relaxes when Suori moves near the hole. He trust the young dwarf well to take care of that, or to tell them if it’s too badly broken to use… so instead he turns to his own work.
A ring of salt around the bodies of the undead giant and the umber hulks, not risking flame on it given it’s fellows tendency to explode. The towering beast wincing a touch at the deep cuts he suffered. He finishes the marks, needing to ask the names of the men to make sure of them from their mates, then leaves the carved stone to show what happen here.
Ken (GM): noted
Bomrek sets to work helping gray with the memory stone “Jus’ to make sure you memorialize ’em in the proper dwarven fashion”

Suðri Skornbrekker: [9v13] Taking extra time if necessary
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): The explosions that rocked the structure were impressive, but you’re confident the damage was superficial. Only the marble veneer was blasted away. Below is a series of what you believe is some ancient concrete-and-rebar reinforced structure.
Suðri Skornbrekker sadly strokes a bit of charred marble, quietly swearing to himself to repair this after the war; he nods confidently, however. “The bridge is stable, we can still cross it.”
Suðri Skornbrekker goes to help, if there is still work to do, with interring the dead

Tis but a scratch! Superficial damage only!

Gray lets Bomrek set to the work, sure the fallen among the dwarves would prefer runes carved with a dwarven chisel to beastial claws. The towering beast nodding at the shrine when it’s done then turning to Suðri. “We should move ahead when we can and get to a better camp before we run out of daylight.”
Ken (GM): [run out of daylight, at midday]
Ken (GM): [pssht]
Ken (GM): [its been two sessions but not that much in-game time has passed]

Ken (GM) The men assist Gray in the disposal of the hazardous bodies, dragging the massive ghoul-body to the ruined monsters and warning away anyone with a smoking habit

Syviis keeps an eye out for changes in magic, but otherwise forces herself to rest

Roderick valiantly soldiers on through the exhaustion of the fight; he directs his commander and men to get the troops organized for the next leg. He calls for a short meal break but no camp just yet with Hoddleton manned by a visible force of troops

(To Syviis): Perception+talent
(To Syviis): Really, Magic-perception
Syviis: (To GM) rolling 3d6 ( 5 + 1 + 5 ) = 11
(From Syviis): beat by 6
(To Syviis): The wards are all gone, triggered or burst. The remnants of Simon and Rolf’s infernal appearance is gone, the evil banished for the time. Their infectious connection has been cleansed as well. You acolytes have them in their care just off to the side of the bridge, but they were a bit busy doing funeral service to inspect or scrutinize them much ATM

Syviis rests easy despite the hard won day, though she does take a moment to open her journal and add the names of those lost to the fight.
Ken (GM): [Inventory: Minus two lackeys, three henchmen}

Gray shakes his head as he looks up. It’s only noon and his body aches like he’s been running for years. For a moment he can’t hide his thoughts as he looks to the men and wonders how much more they can push them. It cost them lives and fatigue, while the price he’s paid comes in humanity. Each day, each wound, seems to take him a little deeper into a the lupine side. Before such dark thoughts bother the men he turns and walks closer to Syviis. Watching her long enough to be sure she’s feeling no aftereffects from the amount of magic she had to channel. He doesn’t want to talk to Simon or Rolf. Doesn’t want to know what they’ve been though just yet.

Roderick rolls morale for the troops [leadership ; +1 care, +1 immediate care, +1 obvious preparation/time taken]
Roderick: rolling 3d6 vs 17 leadership ( 6 + 1 + 4 ) = 11
Ken (GM) The troops meet Gray’s gaze steady, many salutes from the men who seem in great spirits despite the horrors of the time.
Ken (GM): [y’all rest a moment]
Ken (GM): call it an hour passing for FP/HP regen
Joush M.: I think if we make the elf run she’s going to go lame. Got to rest. Brush her down, feed her a sugar cube
P.P. A.: Maybe have her hold a bonsai tree to raise her spirits
Syviis looks a lot more stable as she joints the rest of the acolytes, asking their take on some of the traps we just encountered

Roderick(GM) tends to Bomrek and Suðri’s visible wounds, if at all
Roderick: rolling 3d6 vs 16 Healing (taking time, 2FP for 4 HP) ( 2 + 4 + 4 ) = 10
nice, that’s Bomrek
Ken (GM): …did Suðri even take a hit?
(also, would Gray like a top up? )
(To Gray): Need some healing or you wanna tough it out? Your 20+ HP means double healing factor
P.P. A.: Nope
Ken (GM): :O no wonder hes so guilty!
P.P. A.: >survivor’s guilt intensifies
(From Gray): At 1 hour, unless my math is wrong, Gray should be at 16. It’s enough/more then pretty much anybody else in the party
(To Gray): Yeah 2HP an hour aint bad

Gray shakes his head to Roderick. “No, thank you. I’m already healing.” He promises, the wounds closing and the blood replenished even as he stands there.”We should talk to Rolf and Simon”
Ken (GM): [don’t mind me, just gonna tank ALL THE HITS for my penance]

Ken (GM) Lunch is had, quick and efficient as Roderick and the Dorf commander do command. Dry rations and water, an order to post lookouts and watch the Eastern shore of the river.

Ken (GM) The pair of wizards remain unconscious. Rolf stricken with torturous looking wounds bandaged by the elven spirit acolytes. Simon, his head a ruin of blackened flesh. Roderick tends to that wound direct, in an effort to save him from a terrible death. Wary, as always, of Simon’s mana-locus power
P.P. A.: > ruin of blackened flesh
sounds unpleasant
Ken (GM): [yeah his skull got all fucked up with that dark power, there son ]
[/fargo accent]
Roderick(GM): rolling 3d6 vs 16 (taking time, 4FP for 8 HP to heal Simon) ( 4 + 1 + 5 ) = 10
Roderick: rolling 3d6 vs 14 magic mishap? ( 3 + 5 + 1 ) = 9
Roderick tends to the wound magically, and the skin builds back up, the bone whitening, pink flesh stitching. He controls his power too, and nothing overtly bad happens as he works on the magic man
Syviis: “I have a feeling that tales of these horrors will be shared for many years…up until some foolish person sighs and says…’yeah, but magic is Haaaarrd! If only there was a way to make it easier!’
Gray shakes his head. “Seems like I was rushing ahead there. Acolyte, can they be moved with the rest?” He ask as he looks down to the battered pair.

Simon looks somewhat better, though he still appears worn out like he’s lived a hundred lifetimes since the two have been gone. Both appear run roughly like slaves. Callouses, scars, and a haggard build. What happened to them?

Suðri Skornbrekker, assuming the dead are cared for, approaches the three. “How are you holding up?”
Roderick(GM): “These wounds look ritual, the scars are intricate” the knight inspects the wounds, a thoughtful and dark expression on his face “There are names inscribed here, in the old tongue, like brands or…seals of magic. Is the darkness banished from them? Gray? Syviis?” He holds a hand on his sword hilt…
Roderick: “I’m fine Suðri, my men are as well, thank you all” He nods to each of you Syviis goes to investigate

(To Syviis): Looking intently, Simon is still a fine locus of power, a tight ball of energy contained in his aura like a solar eclipse. Rolf as well is fit and hale, magically. Neither have a wisp of darkness to them, only the auras of magical men
(To Gray): Your vision of the spirits reveals only the obvious auras of magical men on these wizards. Simon’s radiates like an eclipsed sun, but you only see mortal souls in their bodies

Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Roderick: “…sorry for the burns. I… I should have realized… These giants looked similar to the undead in Academs that exploded…” He shakes his head, uneasily glancing over is back towards the funeral pyre.
Roderick sees the obvious guilt and pain on his friend “Suðri if I felt you responsible, I’d have reprimanded you by now. We are facing threats unimaginable. We need to adapt, not turn on each other”

Gray studies them a moment. “They aren’t possessed anymore.” He assures the other, then looks sympathetically to Suðri, not sure how to make him feel better as the brute beast stands close, a hand running over his jaw. “I tripped the trap. We’ve all got regrets and mistakes enough to drown us.”
Syviis nods at Gray’s words. “The Darkness is absolutely banished from them… of course, it once was banished from many we’ve met. But for now, at least, they rest easy in the light.”
Suðri Skornbrekker strokes his beard and nods. Roderick’s point was convincing. “…thank you. We still have a duty to fulfill, after all…” He turns to the two wizards. “They have been through yet darker hells, it seems.”
Syviis: “Indeed. Our foes are jealously hungry for those with magic.”

Gray goes to the wagon and makes space for the pair of wizards, then leads it up to near the bridge. “Should we load them up and try to get moving again?”

Ken (GM) the acolyte watching over them seems intent on them; he is a scorned, black skinned, gold eyed and small horns emerging from his forehead. He looks to be sizing them up as if afraid they might lunge at him like wolves. Even still, he wraps linen bandages and takes utmost care…

Syviis joins Gray at the front line and readies a few extra arrows

Ken (GM) the acolyte takes the hint and gets the wizards out of the way…

Syviis: “I’ve had the strangest thought…it’s almost like the ‘King’ doesn’t want to speak with us.”

Bomrek looks at Syviis for a moment, then taps out his pipe on his arm greave, puts it away and says “HAH” in a dull tone

Ken (GM): [map magic]

Gray makes a thoughtful sound that invites her to continue, nodding and checking that the wagon is loaded, gently, with the injured pair. He hopes the scorned that watched the wizards with such respect will take good care of them.. but his thoughts end up back on what the elf woman said. “Why avoid the confrontation? So many traps and cats-paws. Perhaps he fears the elder staff or the fae blade?”
Roderick scowls at that mention of his green weapon “Yes, indeed. Though I’d hate to be some other cats-paw against him. I don’t quite like the Erlking’s tone. Or his hints”

Ken (GM) the scouts hail you; one of them climbed a high treetop and is signalling something back up the chain!
Gray: “Hummph.” The brute agrees, displeased but then shaking it off, starting to prowl across the bridge, ahead. “The scouts see something ahead. Let’s see what it is…” Another army?
“Rider incoming! Bearing a flag of Parley!”
Gray nods and waits for the rider to come.
Suðri Skornbrekker raises an eyebrow.
Syviis’ watching for magical bullshit intensifies as the rider approach-eth

Ken (GM) and indeed, across the bridge appears a man on horseback; armored but helmet on his belt. The steed is dressed in barding and while he has a mace on his saddle, it is down to his side. A black flag hangs from a high standard behind him: the signal of Parley
(To Syviis): He is magic aura-free
(To Syviis): Absolutely mundane

(From Syviis): [Syviis eventually engineers the first orbital space bow-and-arrow to be absolutely sure]
(To Syviis): Also, note, there was a fresh bundle of arrows for you. They were lovingly wrapped with a cord of leather and a little elven spirit token somebody put together for you. Like japanese-level hospitality care.

(To Gray): He is spirit-free; only a mortal man on horseback. A side note: the spirits of the land are skittering back now, the black magic exorcized. You see the sprites and motes gathering and swimming or flying about again. They gather in Rodericks shadows like hungry flies

Suðri Skornbrekker does not aim, for once

Bomrek debates aiming, as usual

Gray: “I don’t see anything exceptional about the man.” Gray says as he scents the air and watches the man, stepping forward to call to him. “You’ve come to bargain?” He offers Bomrek only a subtle shake of his head. Aiming isn’t part of the deal with parley… at least, not out in the open.

Bomrek harrumphs

Ken (GM) the rider hails you, waves openly, then walks his horse out along the bridge slowly and casually. He rides with hands down and open, guiding the slow horse walk with his legs. You see on the side opposite his mace he carries a pistol as well, but otherwise he seems lightly prepared to say, take on your army. Just a cuirass and leather sleeves.

Ken (GM) he appears, in better detail, to be a not-young not-old man, short cropped hair and beard.

(To Gray): You notice, he has no tabbard or heraldry. No insignia. Odd
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You notice, he has no tabbard or heraldry. No insignia. Odd

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Hail; who are you with?” Suðri calls over to the man; “You carry no markings of your allegiance.”

Gray nods in agreement with Suori.

Ken (GM) the rider stops, roughly at half-bridge (and over the smear of black your dark magic encounter left…)
“Hail Roderick and his Marshalls! Hail the Heroes of the south” he calls out, a practiced voice, the cries echoing over the smooth river waters.
“We come to speak on behalf of Volk’s men; there needs be no battle here today. Just a simple agreement. May we speak?”

Suðri Skornbrekker looks to Roderick; he sees no reason to object. “Volk?”
Roderick: “I dont recall the name; and he’s missing any tabbard which is…odd. Gray? I seem to recall you had friends up here in the local mercenary forces?”
Gray: “Something like a friend of mine. He’s a commander of mercenaries… I owe him enough to talk to him, if he has something to say.” He says in that deep, rough voice. “I’ll meet with him, herald.. but why hasn’t he come himself?”
Ken (GM) Gray’s voice cuts across the bridge without effort. The man nods at the cue, and begins to walk his horse forward, again hands out and friendly
(To Gray): Soldier skill roll?
Gray: rolling 3d6 vs 10 ( 3 + 6 + 3 ) = 12
(To Gray): Something about the lack of a tabbard is bugging you. Who could he be working for, dressed like that?

Suðri Skornbrekker thinks long and hard, the name seems to ring a bell. Suðri concentrates to check if there are any silver swords nearby, however; that’s always a good way to know if someone can surely NOT be trusted.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You stretch your senses and see clearly, a man scaled with black snakelike skin, a haubrek of monstrous flesh. In one hand he holds a sword, the red gem glowing gimlet bright. In his other, he clings to the side of the keep behind him, chilled by high sky air as misty clouds pass through the flying castle of Greyhold. His snakelike eyes narrow to slits as he peers over the countryside, a smoky black smear over the bridge at Hoddleton dead center in his view
Suðri Skornbrekker comes to again, and nods to himself. “They are awfully passive…” he mumbles to himself.

Ken (GM) the horseman reaches your side of the bridge. He makes an obvious motion to swing down from the saddle, then stretch his back a bit
Gray: “You’ve lost your uniform. Or discarded it?” He sounds troubled, trying to work though the implications of the nameless man. “Who are you?”
The man smiles broadly at the question, and turns to your group “Who I am is nothing important; I am but a messenger. What is more important is your answer to a question, and my safe return with the answer”
(To Gray): You beat Body language 14 with a 10 secret roll; he is very very afraid of you in particular, but he is hiding it under some very calm bravado

Suðri Skornbrekker looks back and forth between the man, Gray, and Roderick.

Syviis mutters something in elvish. Anyone nearby might get wind of: “[If violence is your question, your absence will be answer enough.]
The man smiles through Syviis’ statement, apparently deaf to the words. He nods at it as an afterthought, smile bright

Gray tilts his head to the side. “You smell like fear. You move like you expect us to attack. What message do you carry? What question do you ask?”
Ken (GM) His eyes widen at that, and a big drop of sweat drips along his face, bright smile held rictus-tight “Oh! well”
“Right to it then”
“My Master at arms asked me here today to cement an alliance between our forces. Together, we can retake the land of Greyhold, free it of evil, and save the kingdom” He smiles, bright and cheery through it all 😀
(To Gray): ; Volk is not Master-at-Arms. Volk is a Commander
Roderick stonefaces through the spiel, nothing betraying on his face. “Really. Save the Kingdom eh?”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “You—that is, your army—would not happen to be bound to any demons or the like through ill-conceived pacts, would it?” Suðri asks skeptically.
Syviis offers an amicable smile…as much as she can with death still on the wind behind them.
Gray: “Master at Arms, ah? Volk’s a Commander. Who do you work for then?” Gray ask in that thoughtful tone, tilting his head to the side and studying the man’s features, watching him as the brute beast stands on the stone bridge.
The Man “Hah ha haaaaaa” he long windedly chuckles at the dwarven ‘joke’ he doesn’t understand “Thats a good one sir!” and he then freezes mid laugh at Gray’s question
“Oh! well, you see….” he trails off, taking a step or two back, toward his horse
Gray starts closing on the man, scenting the air. “We aren’t finished parleying yet”

Bomrek not-so-subtly works the action on one of his magitek pistols, a whine of power humming in the air
Syviis: [Bomrek is a Dwarven Ghostbuster]

Suðri Skornbrekker has re-loaded his arms offscreen before they set off again.
Ken (GM): “Of course! of cooooourse now!” he says, half bowing low and taking another step back “I’m not…I wouldn’t…. uhhhh”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Look, good man; if we were going to harm you, we would already be pointing our guns at you. Speak freely. You are but a messenger, and no harm will come to you, unless you start shooting at us or something.”

Gray bites back a snarl behind his mask, watching the man, looking to the fearful human. He simply breathes, holding himself back to let Suðri talk.

The man quivers a bit then, trapped between you all and his inner turmoil
“I dont represent Volk…but I represent some of his men. We want you to help us get him….’removed from the field’. We want to make sure we have a home to get back to. ” he stands there, not daring to move and offend Bomrek, or Gray

Roderick: “You’re deserters….” he says with some distaste

Syviis: “Who exactly is Volk allied with, then?”
He startles a bit at Syviis’ words, “Crap! You speak more than elf?”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “I could not fault anyone flying Jadeite’s dark banner, at least.”
P.P. A.: er
no, that’s the wrong wording
what’s that phrase about deserting that involves “banner”
Ken (GM): [“Nazi’s cant be all bad”]
Suðri Skornbrekker says the above but in not-ESL English, meaning that
>he wouldn’t fault anyone deserting Jadeite
Ken (GM): ah!
P.P. A.: In German we have „Fahnenflucht“, literally “flag-fleeing”, as another word for Desertion
P.P. A.: so I was trying to translate that directly but looked it up and it doesn’t work like that in English
Ken (GM): [fucking neat, I love how obscurely specific not-english it can be sometimes]

Gray: “There is no ‘home’ if this threat continues. This isn’t about who sits on the throne and holds the magic sword, it’s about who lives and dies. If you want to go back to your home the path is by killing the fucking usurper. Running home to hide will only save you until their daemons come and kill you in your bed.”

Ken (GM): The man flatly cowers at Gray’s words, his composure near completely lost

Roderick: “Why am I not surprised we’ve resorted to turning against our own kin now? Why is this all so disgustingly predictable?”
The Man: “I’m sorry! I’m just under orders to pass along the message! PLEASE!” he backs up, takes an awkward knee “We can’t go on fighting in Hoddleton! Volk holds the line but we’ve just lost so many men” He’s not quite crying yet, but seems a bit emotional

Suðri Skornbrekker realises now what’s going on, and looks angry.

The Man: “Volk ordered us to stand firm, hold fast. We rallied, took Hoddleton as a last stand…” he trails off, looking desperate “I just wanna live and none of us want to fight any more monsters”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Will you lose the rest of ’em too, and your honor, and die under the yoke of Jadeite’s devils and demons?”
The Man: “No! but…. HOW CAN WE FIGHT THEM?”

The Man: “You!” he points at each of you “You’ve got magic with you! POWERS! We’re just men!”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “So are they!” Suðri turns around and gestures at their army, “and they stood firm in the face of burning giants and giant… whatever the [Dwarven curse], and they even shot one of them!”

Gray shakes his head hard, his hands tight fists, then lets out the angry breath. “Where can I find Volk? We will speak with him and see the situation ourselves. You’ve reinforcements at least, man.”

“No! Don’t you see? Volk will get us all killed! He’ll want to fight them at the Keep! Take the enemy at the head! We cant fight them! Can’t win against them! We need you all!”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “The enemy is everywhere! Its dark tendrils reach beyond time and space. The two poor figures there—” he points at the two wizards, “were SPAT out by a dark hole right here on the bridge. ‘Tis a fight or something worse than death!”

Gray: “Compose yourself. Nobody is asking you to die right now.” He assures the man, deliberately pulling back, fighting not to tower over the man as his hand runs across his horns. “You can fight them by digging holes and hauling powder, if nothing else. There’s a thousand damn jobs need doing to fight, not all of them require magic and steel”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Come with us, and witness the strength of dwar— er, Men! Of steel, of gunpowder!”

The man seems the cowardly sort. He hangs his head in shame at the rallying cries of your group
Roderick scowls

Syviis: “How about you help us with truth, first,” She approaches, hands open. “Talk about what lead you to seek us out. What is happening in the road ahead?”

Gray starts to walk past the man. Planning on crossing the bridge and finding Volk himself, he seems to dismiss the frighted man, even as he feels sympathy for it. There’s things they’ve seen that could turn a good, strong man into a coward and he doesn’t know how long the poor soul has spent on the line facing impossible creatures of darkness. He reminds himself not to judge the man without knowing as he starts across the bridge.

Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Roderick: “It sounds like they are fighting in Hoddleton. Is this time to tarry?” He grasps his musket.
Syviis: “We should hurry,” she nods “Is the road clear?”
Roderick: “May be. Put this man on his horse and get us moving” He directs his commander ” You’re right Suðri, no time to waste today”

The Man composes himself a touch, but gets out of the way as Roderick orders for the march to begin. The scouts trot by on their light horses and salute to Gray as they make to ensure the countryside is clear for your approach

Suðri Skornbrekker looks over his shoulder to the man: “We have fought storms and won. Compose yourself and look past evil to the brighter future that beckons beyond it. Much of that evil, I should add, dies to bullet and blade just fine, for that matter.”

The Man follows, head hung, and he speaks aside to Syviis: “Why are you being so kind to me miss?…” he trails off “We need to get out of here! If you wont listen to reason you can at least flee the coming storm!” he looks about frightfully, walking his horse along with the now-moving army

Syviis: “Because, you are right. Not all of us can fight with magic or guns or swords or arrows. But I would rather see the free folk of the land flee the Darkness instead of join it willingly. Please, if you can do nothing else, keep hope in your heart that you will see the end of this foolish war.”
“As for the storm…I believe you are mistaken.” She smiles softly

Syviis: We are the storm.”

Syviis turns her attention back to the road ahead.

Ken (GM) The army marches on, Roderick at the head. Grim

Syviis looks contemplative as we march

Ken (GM) Battle here has been fierce. Much evidence of terrible foes, burned out fields and craters here and there. Mutilated corpses, fresh and old. Dead horribly and broken post mortem too…. The fields are quiet but it is a lull in some terrible show of force. Ahead, the town is barricaded, carts and pickets cut against charges, with no clear entrance but a gatehouse set on the road ahead. Many buildings seem to have burnt down, collapsed or worse….

Gray stops well back and lets the gatehouse get a good, long look at him. Letting the men inside make their own choices as he takes off his mask and stands there in the ruined fields around the shattered remains of Hoddleton. He remembers the town in better times, but shakes it off as he stands there. At last lifting a hand to wave to the town.

Suðri Skornbrekker looks determined, anxious to aid the men fighting there. “…’tis heartening to hear of people other than us fighting this evil, so bravely no less.”
Syviis nods to Skornbrekker
Syviis: “It seems our allies are finally showing themselves.”

Ken (GM): At Gray’s signal, a flag waves back, again Black for Parley “Are you Gray of Roderick’s banner? The Beastman hero of the South?”
Syviis smiles slyly at ‘Beastman Hero’ and nods to Gray

Gray calls back, faintly surprised and embarrassed at being called that. “Aye! We’ve come to do away with the usuper”

Ken (GM) there is a shuffling, and a short trumpet on a horn
“Summon Volk to the South Gate!”
“Volk to the south gate”
Ken (GM): etc. etc

Ken (GM) you have a bit of time to mill; the militia ranks up behind you on the road, with wary men watching the skies all about you. The pikemen march as an honorguard along with the musketeers, and they follow Roderick in lockstep. The cool day is shadowed with wind and cloud, the sun bright but not hot. The men on the wall peek out from much cover, haphazardly built as it is.

Syviis notices the men watching the sky, and begins doing the same, hunting for any sign of the unnatural (or elemental-driven) storms

Ken (GM) eventually though, the gate opens, and from within comes a man in a hodgepodge of plate and chain armor, a simple mace and sword in either hand, and an entourage of beaten, scarred, and bloodied men. Fierce as they are, they are a mirror of haggard, just as beaten the town around them, wounded and ragged. When the gate opens, the lead man spreads his arms wide and bellows a cheer!

Volk smiles broad, bloody and tired, but happy to see an old comrade such as Gray!

Gray bows his head to the man in greeting, the towering beast even smiles a moment as he speaks in that feral growl. “Here at the end of things, surrounded by ruin.. Of course, I’d find you here. I’m glad to see you are still alive.”
Volk: “They have really tried this time, but I wont go down just yet!” He laughs, and waves you and your men into town through the gates “Please, excuse the mess. I know how tidy you need things. No dust or mud in your fine fur”

Bomrek: [“By the Allfather, these ramshackle forts these men insist on using!”]
[“Is there no master architect among them? Only journeymen and …apprentices?”]
Suðri Skornbrekker evaluates their fort. “[It looks like it held, at least.]”
Bomrek: [“Bah, you are too lenient brother. Have a sense of professionalism”]
Suðri Skornbrekker: [“Oh, don’t mistake me; it’s crude and ugly, and if I had the time I would tear it down and redo it all; but time, labor, and materials are probably in short supply here.”]

Gray nods, then speaks more softly. “Met a man on the bridge that wanted to abandon you. He said he spoke for a Man-at-arms” The big bad wolf walking inside the fort, watching the rest of the army come closer. “Told him no, of course”
Volk: “crap”
“It’s come to that, then, has it” He looks a bit sad but resigned, as if this is absolutely no surprise to him
Volk: “What did he ask of you then, Eh? My head in exchange for an equal share after the fighting is done?”
“Or just my head and a handshake?”

Gray nods somberly. “He just wanted me to get rid of you so they could flee” He assures Volk, standing there inside the gate. “I didn’t give him enough chance to talk to hear his full plot. Maybe I should have”
Volk sighs then, tired, obviously worn out a bit more than he seems to carry on
“That’s quite disappointing really. I’d have at least hoped he offered you gold. Or guns. Maybe even lied and said he had a trick up his sleeve.”
Gray: “He was terrified. Especially when I started growling and asking about his lack of surcoat and heraldry.”

Volk signals two men off to the side, making an elaborate hand gesture they seem to recognize immediately. They slink off immediately.
Volk beckons you inside then, and directs his men to make way for the “reinforcements he promised them weeks ago”.

Roderick: “We can trust them Gray?”
Gray considers Roderick’s question, then nods. “Aye. He wouldn’t have let me inside the gate if he wanted to kill me. Clever and dangerous, but direct… if we were a target he’d have shot us when we stood outside. Or dropped a barrel of Lye on us”
Syviis: “You have the nicest of friends,” smiles brightly
Gray nods in agreement with Syviis, his eyes going over her, then Suðri and Roderick and even Bomrek. His deep voice soft. “Yes, I do”
Suðri Skornbrekker: d’aww
P.P. A.: ^
Syviis blushes in elvish

Roderick shrugs off the bravado and directs you inside “the men can put their feet up, even if its over rubble and ash”

Suðri Skornbrekker remains cautious; he’s torn between inspecting the makeshift barricades to think of improvements for them, and being disgusted by their crudeness and the ruins upon which they rest.

Ken (GM) Inside, the town was once a hub of trade and population. Two and three story homes line a route into the square, walls of fine timber and stucco upper floors. Leaded glass windows(which many are now broken) as well as locks on doors demonstrate such wealth as can be had. Many storehouses, silos, and shops line the way. The roads converge in the center of trade, the market square, which is now a big barracks camp for what remains of the armies of Greyhold.

Gray walks in among the ruins, scenting the air like an animal. Seeing the ruin of the city, the evidence of cannon fire and magic, looking over the tattered remains of the armies.

Ken (GM) the outer ring of town was barricaded off with haphazardly placed makeshift walls, but the destruction is almost total; charred remains are all that is left, a swathe of fire damage and almost a quarter of the town gone. Evidence of fierce battle with hideous beasts and the undead dot the area. Countless scorch marks from gunfire, arrows stuck in every defensible building. And here or there, roofs ripped off of houses….with great and terrible claw marks in evidence. This has been a terror campaign

Suðri Skornbrekker didn’t catch the entire conversation because he was dorfing around
Syviis: [dorfing around]

Ken (GM) the market square is a wide flat space, bordered alongside the river wharf and the King’s highway. A massive cobbled stone space, cleared now of stalls and wagons, full of men in camp. Stores and wares, pikes stacked together in rank, the men nearby cookfires and washbuckets. All around you, the men are weary, beaten and tired. Bloodied. Wounds untreated or hastily bandaged. Many more men simply lame, laying like a procession towards a healer, or stacked like cordwood on the otherside

Gray: “Things have been hard here.” He says as he catches up with Volk, surveying the damage. “We have a plan to assault the Usuper, but it depends on getting to the Dwarven Ways; a network of portals”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Ah, yes,” Suðri’s attention is returned to their quest; “Are there any porta— large glowing stone circles with other stuff in this town?”

Ken (GM): Dead center of it all, right beside the roadway, a gateway stands upright. A ring of stone, magic’d into being, pulled up from the earth and formed by a wizards forces. It is quiet and inactive. Nobody seems to pay it much mind, at all…
Volk points up the road to it “Like that one, you mean?”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “There we go!”
“We broke two of these because enemies were coming through them, but then we realized afterwards that we could use one to take the fight to the enemy, too.”
Volk: “Weeks ago, when Jadeite started to get more ‘wizardy’ than ‘lordly’, they went about, pulling those things up out of the ground. Made a big show of things” He faffs a hand at it, dismissively “No idea why, it hasn’t done shite since that day. “
Gray: “I still hate those damn things” He assures the others as he looks to the silent stones, the beast gazing at it quietly then looking to see if there’s one of those creepy controls nearby. “Gateways that allow him to move his people though another world. The Erlking told us to use one to strike back at him.”
Syviis looks over the circle of stone, checking it over

Ken (GM) You near the gate and it’s construction, again, strikes you as entirely unnatural; the stone is one uniform piece, as if cut from the earth below, some cobblestones even drawn up in where it ‘flowed’ into place. The ring of rock is lined inside with a shining metal, polished like mirrored silver, otherwise unblemished. Excluding a few marks near the base where someone seems to have dropped a broken hammer, haft shattered. You see no indication of a control box apparatus

(To Syviis): You see the magic power in the air flowing and collecting here. It’s subtle but definitely a capable piece of artifice. Magic travels through it like a lens, collecting on one side and flowing through to the other at a point. You also see a sputtery/spinny point, just to the edge, approximately where a control box should be placed at it’s side
Syviis: “Was there anything removed from the circle?” points over to a point on the side
Suðri Skornbrekker looks around puzzled. “A pedestal-looking thing?”
Volk: “Maybe? We’ve been scavenging everything we can to build up our defenses. ” he waves a hand in a wide gesture about you “I’d imagine anything worth taking would have been put to use by now. Was it something important miss?”
Syviis: “It might have been used to command the circle. Likely a pedestal or box, but it might not have been made of the same stone.”

Suðri Skornbrekker inspects the ground near the circle, at about the distance the other control panels stood, to see if there are any broken connections into the earth, or other traces of it.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You get a faint tremble of something…dorfy. A feeling of familiarity, or something. Its weird. and magical for sure
Suðri Skornbrekker looks a little excited and intensifies his search; but he also reassures him that his weapons are in reach.

Gray studies the ring a moment then murmurs softly. “Memory, have a look around. Tell me what you see”
Memory peels herself from Gray, slinking into existence from the shadows of reality about you. The men nearby, startle!
Ken (GM): “Demons!” They cry! “Shadows and monsters!”
Gray: “Spirit, not deamon.” He assures the men as his hand lifts to soothe the ruffled feathers of the raven. “I’ve been called a monster many times.”
Suðri Skornbrekker reassures them: “If it was evil, we would be shooting it already.”
Roderick: “Hold your place!” barks out Roderick “This is not a show of Darkness! You superstitious lot!”
rolling 3d6 vs leadership 12 (-2 “not his men”) ( 1 + 5 + 1 ) = 7

Ken (GM) the men wait a few precious seconds to stop and think a moment. When Memory fails to murder everything, they calm down quite a bit

Joush M.: Roderick’s johnny on the spot with leadership today. Good work
Ken (GM): [It kinda feels like narrative cheating; less ‘reaction to my prodding’, and more ‘NPC mode on a character sheet.’ ]

(From Suðri Skornbrekker): Suðri tries to follow his tingle; if it remains vague over the entire area, he’ll give up and assume it just means there’s something he can do here, but nothing to find
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Ya Follows it, and it winds a few dozen yards away to a tent nearby. A dwarven militiaman with some fine dwarven equipment. He lies on a cot outside, a broken arm laying him up. You get the feeling what you’re looking for is in his tent.

Suðri Skornbrekker wanders off to the side of the road a bit, to a nearby tent

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): He salutes you when you appear; he was dozing, but sits up quick to raise a fist to you. He winces audibly as his other arm jostles. “SIR! What can I …’re…” and his eyes widen in wonder at the sight of your elemental armor!
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): “Hail! I am Skornbrekker, of Roderick’s Southern army.”

Ken (GM) a bit of commotion too, as he bumps into a sleeping dorf and other mercs nearby gather to see the strangely-armored-magitek-gun-toting-fellow

Gray soothes the raven a bit more then lets her have a look around, prowling himself a little and checking the area out.
Memory coos, then flies up and disappears, slinking like an invisible shadow in tot he air

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): “Hail Suðri! …And Roderick…” he trails off. Hes pretty awestruck right now “What do you need Brother?” he manages after a moment
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): “Have you seen some odd-looking machinery around here, perhaps of Dwarven make? There ought to have been something like that nearby that stone circle on the square outside.”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “It’s, uh… It might have looked like a pedestal or a bookstand made of stone; or else any odd-looking contraption.”
P.P. A.: oops, wanted to whisper that
Ken (GM): “Oh, the gemstones? They’re just here, in my tent… though the box I pried them from was odd enough as well…” He points inside the tent
[shit, lol me too]

(From Suðri Skornbrekker): “Might I take a look, then? If it is what we are looking for, you will be recompensed.” He heads inside the tent.

Ken (GM) The dwarven paladin pops into the tent, disappearing from view, but with excitement on his face

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Inside you see the pedestal, half-formed and half-pried apart. A small open sack nearby holds many red gleaming stones.
Magic heartstones.
You know it in your bones, and the elemental armor whispers it to you. Those were dwarven souls, once!

(From Suðri Skornbrekker): Suðri looks shocked, bewildered; ’tis not the first time he has seen such stone-gems, but the first time they held Dwarven souls. He tries holding one to his armor? To see if he can thereby establish some connection to them?
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): The most sorrowful screaming noise you have ever heard in your life replies. Roll
Will -4

(From Suðri Skornbrekker): [13v8]
(From Suðri Skornbrekker):
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): [6]; [11]

Gray watches the raven take wing and studies the circle himself, careful not to disturb it.

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): nice, now 3d6-2 [Fright check table]
(From Suðri Skornbrekker):
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Youre stunned, for only a second, and then you wrest control back from your horror. Certainly, dwarven souls
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): A few tears well up in Suðri’s eyes, and his trembling hand puts the gem back with the others.
He decides to look for the “odd box” while he’s here, clutching the bag with one hand all the while, if just to distract himself from the horrors he almost got a glimpse of
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Inside you see the pedestal, half formed and half pried apart. It’s been damaged, but might be repairable

(From Suðri Skornbrekker): x)
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): He picks up the box and carries it outside.

Suðri Skornbrekker emerges from the tend carrying the controls of the gate, though they have seen better times—half dissembled and partially broken, but still recognisable.

Ken (GM) your dwarven companion has found the box!

Suðri Skornbrekker carries also a bag, and looks markedly pale and shaken.
Volk: “Ah! perfect! Crisis averted for you then?”
Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Volk, managing a smile: “If we can repair this, we can barge into Jadeite’s accursed fort and take the fight to him.” He sounds angry.
Syviis looks at the Dwarf with concern
(To Syviis): He’s carrying a bag of magic stones, powerstones definitely used in the control box construction.
Gray nods to Suðri, walking closer to help him. He doesn’t ask what is wrong, the young dwarf will share it if he wants to but he clearly saw something in that tent to provoke him. The beast helps where he can with getting the gate controls back where they belong.
Suðri Skornbrekker looks at Syviis and gestures her over; Gray too, ideally.

P.P. A.: [PC will be auto-shutting down in two minutes]
Ken(GM): gasp!
P.P. A.: [If that happens I’ll restart it but might be gone for a few minutes while that happens]
P.P. A.: brb :DD
(From Syviis): I’ve got a few more minutes, but hard-quit in 15
Ken (GM): ha shit, it IS 4 innit?
lemme do a thang, imonaroll

Ken (GM) The control box is returned, in some disrepair but nothing structural. Luckily, you have two dwarves capable of magically extruding whatever you will need. However, this is not the concern
Ken (GM) Suðri shows you the magical stones built into the pedestal controls, and pried loose as simple gems.
They are magical Heartstone powerstones.
And they were harvested from dwarves

P.P. A.: there we go
Joush M.: Welcome back

P.P. A.: :DDDD
Thanks for the session!
Joush M.: All this time, we didn’t know you could power evil magic with dwarf hearts
P.P. A.: >hearts
ahaha… ha…
Syviis gasps as she realizes the power-stones want to insult her!
Ken (GM): brings a new meaning to “winning hearts and minds”
Joush M.: We will calm ’em down. Pour a little whisky over them
Fiss: Oh, I may not have much time to game next week – my kiddo’s Bday. But we’ll see.
P.P. A.: Happy birthday to him!
Ken (GM): okay, so take 4 xp each of ya. Next week, we see what we do
Fiss: If he can be distracted by the Nintendo for a few hours I’ll manage. 😛
Ken (GM): happy birthday little elf-potato thing!
Fiss: Haha, I’ll make sure to tell him
Ken (GM): “Unka ken called you a potato”
Fiss: great session, Ken, have a good one folks!
P.P. A.: Well then, good night and ’till next week!
Joush M.: Happy birthday! And thanks for the session

About KentonBlack

I'm an avid gamer, computer troubleshooter, and all around dashing fellow. I blog After Action Reports on my gaming, running as the GM for several GURPS 4e games
This entry was posted in #GrimWyrd, #GURPS, Chat dump, Game Log and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grimwyrd: Hearts and Minds

  1. Pingback: Thursday is GURPSDay! March 15 to March 21, 2019 - Gaming Ballistic

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