Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hourglass of the Silver Sands: Session 2

STARRING:

Joanna as Mara, Travelling Monk
Jon C as Spectre, Sorcerer Supreme
Jules as Whisper, Master Thief
Bill as Isandlwana, Travelling Matchmaker

Game Mastered by Krzyś

Release Date: 12th of November 2009



The gun shots reverberate throughout the town and are heard by a figure just on the outskirts of Daiyu. Mara, clad in the attire of a wandering monk, led by a disturbing feeling enters the town. She has to force herself not to be overwhelmed by the utterly disgusting sensation of walking through the town's air. She takes out her flute and begins to play on it to ease her nerves.

The music reaches the ears of Spectre and Isandlwana, who stop in their tracks to see where it comes from. Spectre opens his sight to the flows of Essence but cannot see anything out of the ordinary about the person. Mara comes closer to what appears as a hostage situation while the two Solars wait for what seems like an Immaculate Monk to reach them.

Meanwhile, a shadowy figure climbs up the mayor's house. He peeks into a room situated at the back of the building and finds the mayor praying over an altar in his study. He silently opens the window, walks towards the man and hits him in the head with the back of his sword. The mayor collapses with his head in the sand on the silver altar.

Whisper ties the man up and inspects the room. He finds a book with ancient symbols on it. Recalling such items can get you a nice price, he takes it with him and looks at the altar. It is made entirely of silver, two candles on each side and in the middle a bowl with the same ancient symbols drawn around it. The inner layer of it is made of silver on which sand has been put. He takes the bowl with him before looking into the desk's drawers. Within he finds a strange object, a cross between a hammer and a chain, and other torture weapons. Satisfied with his search, he wakes up the mayor and attempts to scare him with the prospect of torture but his nerves appear stronger than that of a regular person.

Outside, Isandlwana and Spectre confirm that Mara isn't an Immaculate Monk. They explain the situation and call for the mayor's attention. After not getting any reply they decide to enter but Spectre stops them to say that there is a ward in place that would go off if they were to cross the threshold. They go inside regardless.

Whisper hears a door creak at the other end of the corridor. He goes to look, after his eyes adjust to the darkness he sees a slender girl with the tail and pincers of a scorpion. He follows her as she walks towards the stairs leading down and hides on the ceiling above them.

Downstairs, the Exalts go inside. They grab the nearest oil lamp they can find and lit it. When asked, the sheriff tells them the mayor should be upstairs and the Exalts can hear the fear in his voice. They tell him to lead the way, followed by Isandlwana's prodding firewand and the other two Lawgivers. They manage to reach half the way up when a giant scorpion's tail pierces through the sheriff's body. Isandlwana jumps back, Mara shoots an arrow that turns into pure light, illuminating their surroundings for an instant before hitting the unholy creature. The firewand is raised up, a shot is given but the creature moves to the side. Seeing an opening, Whisper leaps forward, spinning through the air with both of his swords drawn. He lunges the blades through the monstrosity and into the ceiling, allowing him to stand on it.

Dropping to the stairs, he pulls his swords out of the wood. The body falls down. Spectre realises that this creature is not a spirit but a halfbreed of human and demon. The girl's last words are a terrifying shriek. Whisper rans back to the mayor, Isandlwana and Mara follow him while Spectre casually walks behind them.

When they reach the room with the mayor still tied up, Mara goes into a frenzy. She takes out her orichalcum direchain and smashes the altar with it. A dozen or so shrieks can be heard from outside all around them. Whisper goes to the window but sees nothing, Isandlwana jumps out and grabs the roof's ledge. Spectre enters the room only to see a creature much like the one before, a half-man, half-scorpion of twice the size of a human being, materialising before his very eyes.



I thought this game session would be a purely combat heavy game. As it turned out, the addition of two more Player Characters changed that and added more investigation and Player-to-Player interaction.

We also had to retcon the previous session's ending due to Nadjib not joining us. We just had Velvet Fist left at the inn guarding the deputies. It's easier than having to run a character without a sheet.

The combat that did result was very fast, as Joanna rightfully noticed. The enemy was on the level of one of the characters and against a Zenith and a sneak attack from the Night, it had little chances avoiding being killed. I was mainly hoping to poison someone, but it didn't work out. Happens...

I'm pretty happy with how this session went. The only thing that didn't work out was communication between me and Joanna. Using British Sign Language alphabet isn't working so I had to write a lot and fortunately, the other players helped repeating my words to Joanna because my accent makes it harder to read my lips. I will just write a lot and use a pen this time, I have no idea why I kept using the pencil...

Next session I'll try to get a grid map or just blank sheets of paper to draw the map of the area. I'd like the combat here to be really epic and I do expect a lot of questions as to who is where and how far. A map usually helps a lot in those cases...

6 comments:

  1. Combat balance is always a problem; if anything, I find myself making fights a touch too difficult, but that may just be because fights in Call of Cthulhu are always difficult!

    If you're going to have a big fight in the next session, then a map and counters/miniatures are a definite help.

    These summaries are great; do keep doing them!

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  2. Combat balance is not as much of a problem, it's just that I get the feeling the players don't yet know their character's strength. Jules and Bill have an advantage here since they played Scion with me but Joanna shouldn't be surprised she nearly killed a half-demon when her character is A Slayer of Evil...

    The one thing I am worried about is Jon's character. He doesn't have much of an expertise in combat and the one he does would destroy the whole town...

    I'm glad you're enjoying the summaries... they are not all that easy to write...

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  3. Once I get running a game again, I'll start putting some summaries up myself.

    I'm not familiar with Exalted, so I don't know about encounter levels and such.

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  4. There aren't any... you just look at the stats and hope it will do what you want it to do...

    but generally, mortals is not something you worry about when an Exalt... you just try not to kill them too much...

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  5. Thanks chib!

    I hope you'll enjoy reading through it ;)

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