Vastlands ep.2- Winter’s Daughter pt2

The Cold Prince and Princess Snowfall-at-Dusk

This was a fun session again! The players were really getting into character, and getting into the spirit of dealing with the strange situations they found themselves in. After the sudden attack of the “holy items” in last session, they were especially careful to avoid any kind of armed conflict. Probably wise as well.

In Game (Session 2)

Present: PCs: Alette (Hunter), Estmund (Dolmenwood Knight), Prudence (Magic-User), Solvang (Magic-User).

During the night, the Skeletal parents of Sir Chyde wandered out of the tomb and joined the party for the evening. They sat around the fire (warming their bones) and talked about the world. Solvang was curious about the “how” of their reanimation, but they couldn’t answer him. He advised them to be wary of the outside world, and perhaps wait for the party to accompany them.

In the morning the party explored the tomb. In their first new room the spotted an ornate mirror. Prue asked her “Invisible Servant” to turn the mirror to face the wall before anyone entered the room. From the light of their torches they could see both stairs down and a further room. Estmund was curious about the ornate mirror, and turned it around to take a closer look… and was frozen. The others spent a long time crawling on the floor and unpacking their bags and were finally able to cover the mirror with their bedrolls. Sadly their Squire was frozen holding the mirror, so they picked him up (and the mirror) and carried them out to the Skeletons for some advice. The morning light burned away the magic and Estmund reanimated, feeling suitably embarrassed.

They returned to the stairs and descended through lit candles and through a shimmering portal. They found themselves in a winter forest, snow covering everywhere. In the distance they saw a white tower rising from a frozen lake. As they approached a jingling sleigh raced across the lake, driven by a pair of red-capped little men who proceeded to bang on the door. A giant troll answered the door and began to argue with the senior of the pair. Meanwhile Alette chatted with the younger, and learnt that they were delivering supplies for a long running wedding reception. They offered to help carrying the supplies. When the Troll finished his argument, the two red-caps claimed a smoke break and let the party carry the (very heavy) supplies into the tower.

When they finished unloading in the tower’s kitchen, they worried about getting upstairs past the surly troll. Whispering to the Red’s, Alette traded a magical trinket for a favor to Red Senior. They watched as the Red-caps proceeded to run a card game with the kitchen staff and troll (and fleece them for coin).

Sneaking upstairs, they encountered a feast underway, with numerous elven nobles and knights seated at the table. The smell and sight of the food was almost irresistible. Estmund bravely stepped forward and pronounced himself one of the “guests of the groom” and bringing a gift for the bride. After a moment of confusion from the elves, one fancy dandy came forward and led the “groom’s guests” further upstairs to see the Princess. The other elves followed, gossiping amongst themselves, wagering on the possible fates of the party.

On meeting the Princess and giving her the ring – the ghost of Sir Chyde appeared and thanked the party – to the cheers of the assembled elven guests. The Princess (at the urging of the other elves) presented gifts to the party – elegant fur coats, ice-silver necklaces, glittering gems, and a bottle of her best wine. Sir Chyde told them where his sword was stored and thanked them for their efforts.

When the party returned to their camp outside the tomb, they found the Skeletons had returned to their natural state. The party carefully returned the bones to their sarcophagi, and played a final waltz for them.

At the Table

Once again I was struck by how much “reaction rolls” influence the game. More than any other RPG I’ve played, these reaction rolls drastically change the direction of a scene. As a GM I can never be 100% sure how a scene will play out as the final disposition of the NPCs is in flux. The Red-Cap merchants were a random encounter that the players turned to their advantage through great rp. A couple of “delivery men” who have been doing this for too long. They offered to help carry the supplies without asking for anything – hey, free help! – and then offered a magical trinket for something that wouldn’t trouble the Red-Caps at all. Which allowed them to sneak up without having to deal with the doorman at all.

I loved the image of the “eternal wedding reception” going on in the tower, and the elves who seemed honour bound to keep attending – its a very fairy-tale vibe which the players also took full advantage of. Co-opting the elf guests to get to see the Princess, claiming guest-rights and hospitality by way of (very) distant relationship to Sir Chyde, and then putting social pressure on the Princess to get more loot. Genius! Admittedly I went overboard with the reward, but 2nd level is not a whole lot of change from 1st level in OSE.

But the fairy-wine, necklaces and fur coats were a big hit, and the players refused to sell them for gold/xp and wanted to keep them as memorabilia. Note to self – actual items are much more memorable than mere coin!

Next up, some downtime, levelling up, and hex crawling.

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