Vastlands ep.5- Lost Kids and Dead Knights

Carrion Worm by Jean-Francois Beaulieu

The players were getting anxious to make some coin (and start buying some fancy gear) so they looked at the rumours they had earlier, and noticed that Harrowmoor castle was only a short day trip away from their current location. So they decided to try to get some information on the lost child.

In Game (session 5)

PCs present: Alette (Hunter), Estmund (Dolmenwood Knight), Prudence (Magic-User), Solvang (Magic-User).
NPCs: Fluff-Tail (Grimalkin), Fleet-hoof(Goat-kin)

Recovering from a heavy night of drinking, Solvang and Estmund decide that the day should be a short walk – to pay a visit to Harrowmoor castle and learn more about the missing child. Just a short distance out of town they come across a rough campsite where the find Buck-nod’s band of goat-kin still sleeping off a long night of drinking. The Party gives them a wide berth and continues to the castle.

The castle was a formidable black stone edifice perched on a cliff overlooking the Groaning Loch. The guards seemed blasé about random people coming to offer assistance. But inside, the castle staff were all armed and somber. The Lady herself seemed calm – offering food and reciting the facts of her daughter’s disappearance. The party were immediately suspicious about the events – an elder cousin leading a trip to visit relatives in Fort Vulgar, a surprise attack by Goat-kin where the cousin was “the only survivor”, and the young girl running into the forest. Nevertheless, Estmund swore to the Lady that he would find and return her daughter.

Solvang immediately wanted to get the Goat-kin story, and they travelled back to the hungover campsite. Buck-nod had already moved on, so Alette tracked their (alcohol-smelling) path. She had no trouble leading the group through the deepening forest until they came across Buck-nod and his band. When Solvang launched into the story of the lost child, Buck-nod became angry “damn humans always blaming us for any trouble in the forest”. There was a tense stand off – the goat-kin and humans all ready to draw steel, but Solvang reminded Buck-nod of the favor owed, and the goat.kin agreed to send one fellow to help track down the lost child. Fleet-hoof (Shorthorn) reluctantly led the party towards the road to Fort Vulgar.

Following Sinkhole creek the party comes across a pair of dead horsemen – horses and humans rotting in the summer heat. The party wants to investigate the bodies, but Fleet-hoof pointed out something moving inside one of the dead horses. So when the giant arthropod leapt out Estmund and Fluff-tail were ready with weapons drawn. The fight started badly, with swords and arrows bouncing off the hard shells, but after Fluff-tail wrestled with one and exposed the soft underbelly to Estmund’s sword, the remaining Crawlers were swiftly defeated.

While Prue comforted Fluff-tail and her nasty scratches, the others examined the area. Alette spotted the horse tracks leading into the clearing, and the scuffle against some creature. Nearly hidden in the chaos was a small set of barefoot tracks. A child. Leading away from the fight and up the hill, towards a ruin overlooking the forest.

At the Table

Yet another fun session.

A second “wandering encounter” with a band of goatmen obviously meant (to me) that Buck-nod’s band had enjoyed their newly received booze and not moved far. I am really starting to get a familiar vibe from these goat-men. I’m not entirely sure this is what Gavin intended when he wrote the, but it is what is happening at the table. I really loved that the players were suspicious of my story of “what happened” with the disappearance of Violet Harrowmoor. They absolutely suspect the cousin of making some kind of play for the House title. One player talked about “Crusader Kings politics”. I liked that!

Solvang’s player surprised me by going back to talk to Buck-nod. Given the different situation I though a new reaction roll was in order. Even with a bonus based on good history I added, it was still a poor roll. I felt this meant the Goat-kin were insulted by the “accusations”. It seems like the Goat-kin are (literal?) scapegoats for the humans, being blamed for many bad things they are not responsible for. (At least in our game). Thanks to some interesting roleplay the players managed to score another follower. (I am using Goatman’s awesome Woldish Goatman race-as-class)

The fight against the carrion worm thingys was another random encounter – although I felt the need to setup the encounter a bit more (add some dead bodies, and try to give a reason for those bodies). It was perhaps a little anti-climactic as it went so well. Fluff-tail was the only one to be injured, as Estmund’s armor was good at keeping him safe. But it showed that a fight is more than just “I hit the monster, <roll d20> I do damage”. Clever tactics, positioning, and team-work made short work of the dumb arthropods.

Next time: The Abbey of St Clewyd!

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