Chapter seven of The Broken Land concludes!
A DCC/Mythic solo play (with other emulators as required)
Episode Six: Arrest us – please!
A letter found in the shaman’s chest refers to a ‘blayde’ and seems to imply that a powerful faction led by a noble house Danforth is backing Ignorick to invade, possibly Briar Keep. It’s quite obvious to any of the party bothering to look, that this is news to Gorgun. For how that affects his diplomatic mission, read on…
A little plotting and planning as Gorgun thinks
Gorgun lolls in comfort on the bed looking over the letter, the others arrange light and cushions to suit. It seems as though another rest may be in order. Borer has a chance to take his ease wearing only under-padding. He, Elyn and Zudi find themselves conversing, while Binye uneasily dozes through the pain.
“This hyar’s gettin’ too crazy fer my likin’. I ain’t signed on ta jest hack ma way thru uruks.”
“We have to pick a time,” Zudi concurs.
“It’s gonna be impossible to… you know, let someone know we’re safe,” Elyn broadly hints to Borer.
“Elyn – did you forget? I watched you talk to the templars,” Zudi reminds her calmly.
“Oh – right! I sure did forget!” Elyn realises with a shock that they all took Zudi’s help and complicity for granted! And – they were right to. She’s stuck by them and been in the fight, as far as a lasso and a broken staff permit. “Well sure, we figure to send out word again. If we find out what’s going on, that is.”
“I’m not sure if anyone knows, now.”
Thread moved away from: ‘report back’ – in fact Elyn and Borer have just got distracted and mission creep has appeared.
Health has not recovered further: this ‘rest’ is no more than is needed to treat Binye and let Gorgun study.
Chaos falls to 5
A quaint little doom
Gorgun seems restless. He fiddles with the shaman’s staff then tosses it to Elyn. “Magic – obviously – see if there’s something in it that sucked all the life from the she-elf.”
Zudi winces away, but Elyn has always liked puzzles. It’s not long before she unlocks a section.
She walks over and shows Gorgun:
“It’s not demon-possessed, there’s a charm or some such inside. Probably evil.”
“You mean, that sucked the life out?”
“It could well be.”
Gorgun looks at the staff again, seems interested, then keeps it by his side, looking well pleased, but mulling something over.
This is an alteration of ‘on the trail again’ and results in moving away from a second thread: ‘is the white urukin the Uruk Lord?’
Results of ‘dominate magic’ and description of ‘coolly dry’ suggest the magic that sucked life out. I check this, and it is so.
LOC: What form does this take? politely quaint.
So not a deluxe staff? (Likely) Yes
Does the shamans staff have power? (50-50) Yes
Is Gorgun aware of this? (50-50) Yes
Does he intend to use it? (somewhat likely) Yes!
Chaos rises to 6.
The baton of diplomacy passes to Zudi
It seems it’s time to make a move. Binye and Elyn check the look-behind mirror.
“There’s a new guard. Four each side.”
Gorgun is interested in the gadget, which they explain in guarded terms. “Good. Let me think…”
With due precautions against any residual slime the entire party negotiates the stair down again. On the river ledge once more, Gorgun peers up and down. Then swings back, and holds out the shaman’s staff.
“Your staff is broken – this will work better. More convincing. Lead the way back. Talk us through.”
Surprised is hardly the word. But Zudi has never been voluble, and takes her time looking upstream and downstream, herself. Perhaps Borer can see what she can, perhaps not – certainly Elyn and Binye are only able to see a suggestion, in the phosphorescence, that the guard on both other bridge platforms has been renewed.
Zudi leads a shambolic wedge of Gorgun, rogues and goblins across the bridge and is duly halted by a four-strong guard. Another four cover them from the flanking bridge. This ledge leads back to the torture chamber and alchemist lab. Zudi leans on the staff and tries her hand at diplomacy.
It doesn’t go well.
“A Red Guard is over for a check and not pleased to find the alchemist and ogre dead, now you’re here – let’s go see him – he’s bound to be a hit with the ladies!”
The other uruks laugh loudly at this witty sally, and make a few of their own.
“Let’s getcha checked in. Will ya be stayin’ wid’ us long?”
“Aww… maybe a day fer th’ girls, he’s a beast!”
Zudi eases back towards Gorgun and murmurs:
“I have a plan. But we have to play for time.”
This begins with, believe it or not, a successful exit scene. The random roll for which way leads them first to the guarded ledges.
Just to clarify what Gorgun is doing with that staff I ask:
Mythic: Does Gorgun use the staff as a rod of authority (Likely) No! Cascading to ‘fight fame’.
So is Gorgun giving the staff to Zudi? (Somewhat likely) Yes
Chaos is still 6 as Zudi stays in the scene to make her PRS and LCK checks. It’s time to find out what Zudi’s stats are:
Zudi: STR11 STA12 AGI13 INT10 LCK09 PRS18.
She fails LCK and makes PRS, no surprise there! Guards get a ‘meh’ result of 11.
LOC: Awkwardly disagreeable. That sounds quite unpleasant, especially for the women.
Mythic: Is this especially unpleasant for the women? (50-50) No, and cascades to ‘cruelty benefits’.
Mythic: Are they just nasty? (50-50) Yes, and cascades to ‘carry bureaucracy’ cascading to ‘dominate pain.’
Chaos rises to 7
Then the new scene has an alteration, which I’ve begun to cover above.
Little goblin eyes look up in hope
The official is one of Ignorick’s red-chainmail-wearing Red Guard. He looks as powerful as Gorgun! Zudi glides to the front, and there’s a lot of rapid-fire dark-tongue. Beareen seems to perk up a little, and look quite hopeful.
“Goblins are free to go,” this Red Guard decrees. “Traders are welcome in Ignorick’s realm.”
Bowing thanks the nine goblins are ushered out. Was that a splash? Probably not. But maybe Binye rethinks claiming that he’s just a guard, like Noregz and Zab.
“As for you… by the time you’ve sat and howled in the dungeons for a few days, you’ll be begging for a little exercise on these machines!”
The rogues, Zudi and Gorgun are disarmed. Zudi leans on the staff convincingly, and they leave it with her. No-one else has that much luck: especially when they are marched over the next bridge and into a dank, winding tunnel that leads to foul cells. Their equipment is stripped off them and piled in a guard chamber, and catalogued in by the Red Guard. The other guard uruks are similarly armoured – perhaps these are an elite? Then they shove the party along again. Gorgun gets his own cell; the others are shoved into another together. They get the impression that all other cells they pass are occupied.
And with Gorgun’s angry diplomatic protest ringing down the tunnel, the burly guard-uruks take away the light and leave them all in dark and misery.
“Perfect,” declares Zudi.
There are a great many questions used to get me here, using CRGE because they all seem to me to be 50-50.
I begin with a scene at torture chamber, but it is altered. Focus: move away from [locate the uruk lord’s lair] thread. Meaning delay new ideas. That’s where Zudi’s PRS check comes into play. I check if she is bluffing, saying they are working for Ignorick, get a resounding No! then begin the 50-50 CRGE questions, nine of them, which remove the goblins from the NPC lists, and moves the others to prison; and in the next scene I find they have also lost most of their equipment.
Chaos rises to 8
Episode Seven: Prison Break
Wait, this was a plan?
Time ticks by and Zudi seems quite comfortable, just listening and resting. She hasn’t followed up her comment.
Then she snuggles next to Elyn and passes over a ring.
“This doesn’t mean what I think it doesn’t mean does it?” Elyn asks, confused and blushing suddenly.
“Wear it, feel better, pass it to Binye next,” is all Zudi says, shifting back to her original spot.
Elyn feels her mana activate! And her beaten-up feeling fades. After an hour, she feels better than any time since Red-sash nearly got a mortal wound on her. She hands the ring on to Binye.
“Ma… ma arm! I c’n feel th’ skin growin’ back! Damn! Itches!”
It takes more than an hour for Binye, but eventually he too feels fully fit. Flexing his arm with pleasure, he finds Borer and presses the ring into the dwarf’s palm.
“Healing,” he mutters.
For Borer it’s two full hours or more.
“Say, that’s slick, Zudi,” he mutters as he feels the cuts healing.
“Quiet now, I need to find out something.”
To the rogues’ surprise Zudi calls low out into the prison tunnel, in a language they don’t know. It sounds lilting and pleasant.
A hoarse male voice, weakened by ill treatment, calls back softly in the same tongue. There’s a conversation in short phrases. Then Zudi switches to common.
“Anyone else alive, and wishing to feel the sun on their face?”
“Yer, reckon there is missus! Jus’ wot I wos sayin’ ter me old chinas ‘ere, any minnit naow th’ ‘tendants’re gonna tike us aht fer a bit o’ sunbathin’ – I don’t think!”
“Hobbs,” Zudi mutters, calls back softly: “Feel free to join us, if you don’t mind a little excitement with the chance of good cooking at the end of it.”
There’s general agreement in as many voices as might make four small kin.
The rogues feel rather than see Zudi shift back towards them.
“Ready to exercise your own skills? I’m sure at least one of you managed to hide a lock pick.”
There’s a bit of uncomfortable squirming and both Elyn and Binye produce thieves tools. And the inevitable question:
“Zudi, not to look a gift horse in the mouth – but who are you?”
Chaos is 9