The Fearless – Session 2

Swamp Dragon by Calvin Chua

So we come back to our motley crew of.. three commoners who have wandered into a nasty swamp. Currently they have a rough camp at the base of the drop (a massive cliff) and nearby a freshwater swamp forest – the drained sea.

Aedra is fuming at the death of Bysen. It could have been her! She desperately wants to go back and get revenge on Bill for putting them in this situation. The others agree “but what can we do about it now, nothing…” Nevertheless they all make a pact to get revenge on Bill eventually. But for now they need to deal with the two dead bodies.

Syn wants to give Bysen at least a modicum of dignity, and takes up Aedra’s pick and starts to dig a grave. It is easy enough to break ground, but it gets harder as the deeper ground gets wetter. She strains muscles trying to empty the hole of mud.

Aedra wanders away from camp, pretending grief, but actually looking for another way up the cliff that doesn’t involve the suicidal staircase. She stumbled across a mess of metal planes engulfed in foilage – a before-ruin. But there are voices coming from it so she slinks back towards the camp.

Elene wanted to help Syn, but her help amounts to “supervision” which is basically ignored. So she turns to examining the Ravager. Horns, clawed hands, bark-like patches of skin. But under the obvious non-human bits she recognises an old acquaintance from Bill’s Hold. A young companion who ran away after being disfigured by an angry customer. She had been the last person anyone expected to survive in the Wilds, but something had changed her. Just thinking about the years of hardship makes Elene angry at the people of the Hold- and something sparks across from the dead body into Elene.

As the day grows warm they all gather for a meal and share stories about life in the Hold – and begin to bond with each other.

During their talking they come up with a plan to use the dead ravager body to lure a Dragonkin out of the water, and to keep it securely tied to a tree so that the Dragonkin will be distracted and exposed long enough to hack at its neck. They drag to body to a suitable tree near the water and set about making their trap. Syn and Aedra start tying the body while Elene keeps watch for large reptiles. Unfortunately she fails to realise how sneaky Dragonkin can be, and fails to notice one creeping towards them in the murky waters. Only at the last second does she notice a pair of eyes on the water sizing her up – and her panicked tumble causes the snapping jaws to miss as a Dragonkin surges out of the water.

Syn screams and hollers to get the creature’s attention, even throwing clods of soil and waving her arms. She succeeds, and only just pulls herself into the branches of a neaby tree as the Dragonkin surges across the ground and snaps at her legs. She can even see her cleaver lying amidst the gear piled on the other side of the angry monster which looks like it is trying to climb the tree itself.

Aedra sees her chance, grabbing her pick and swinging it across her body to hopefully impale the monster’s head to the tree. She stares slack-jawed as the pick bounces off the thick plating of the monster’s head. In a flash the creature has turned and bites into Aedra’s hips. The shock knocks her to the ground, and when she looks back the beast is rearing up with the torn end of her legs going down it’s gullet.

Syn uses the screams and struggles of Aedra as an opening to leap down and grab her cleaver. With the evidence of it’s speed being eaten in front of her, Syn decides to jump onto the back of the Dragonkin. It immediately begins to struggle, twisting and sliding back towards the water, but Syn manages to hold on tight.

Elene watches helpless as the Dragonkin careens among the trees, trying to remove the thing clinging to its back. Syn is madly hacking into the neck, trying to find a weaker spot in the plated hide. After a few mad moments the cleaver sinks down and becomes wedged in the monster’s spine. It stops struggling and seems to deflate while Syn struggles to her feet and tries to catch her breath.

With her experience at butchery and skinning, Syn makes short work of removing the armored hide of the Dragonkin – and throughout the afternoon Elene panics at any movement in the water. The moment they are finished they roll up the hide and run back to camp.

Neither of them wants to spend another night in the swamp – especially as the recent bloodshed will attract all manner of nocturnal hunters. So the pair decide to climb up the Staircase immediately. Bringing only the hide and some water (and the hack silver from the Ravager) the pair start the arduous climb up. After a short time climbing Syn hears a panicked wail behind her as Elene looses her grip and falls off the cliff.

The next morning sees Syn stomping into the meeting hall of Bill, still battered and bloody. She dumps the hide at Bill’s feet. Bill eyes goggle at the blood-splattered hide, the chipped cleaver, and the bloodshot eyes of Syn.
Bill nods warily.
Syn turns and walks out of the hall, collects her belongings, and walks out of Bill’s Hold and towards Ship-Hold on the horizon to the south.

The end of the session was cut a little short, we were running out of time and we just wanted to finish up so we overlooked the final trip (also only had the one survivor). I am actually fairly impressed. Freebooters on the Frontier (and the powered by the apocalypse engine in general) makes the game flow quite fast. I especially liked how the funnel world “know your stuff” gave the 0 level characters a little extra push to interact with the world. I also liked that combat felt more visceral – on every roll someone was getting hurt.

We’ve decided that the next characters will be a little less random, we’ll use the “recruit” move to find some new 0 level characters. Next time we’ll maybe explore a bigger city a little.

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