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Building bridges (Circle of Hands summary)

Pre-Post

Hello folks, I'm very glad to hear that you're enjoying these write-ups! It occurred to me that I ought to have included some player aliases so that way you all could keep a bit of track of who is who in all this. It also occurs to me as I'm writing this, I have COMPLETELY forgotten which knights were written by each player. I only definitely remember one or two of them. I guess it goes to show that they're collectively theirs now.

The Players and Knights

Players: Kaleb, John, Tre, Conlan, Chris (Myself)

Knights: Wulf, Tabea, Bern, Lutz, Otomar, Filibert the Strong, Karlman Oswald, Heike, Ingulf, Ingfridr (deceased).

All these folks are people that I've been playing a myriad of other PC games with over the years. Usually FPS and RPG games, but rarely in tabletop format. With this bunch, I recently ran and completed a Curse of Strahd campaign with Kaleb, John, and Tre (Dungeons & Dragons 5th ed.) as well as sporadically GMing smaller one-shots in the same system. They're a goofy bunch, but they know when to take things seriously and when jokes are appropriate. I've played CoH with Kaleb and John before, but it was a very long time ago. 

Us getting together and playing CoH again sprouted up in the gap between games of D&D. Kaleb had been very interested in running his own campaign, but ultimately found the process too daunting and benched the idea. Nobody else had stepped up to the plate and I still had the hard copy of Circle on my bookshelf. So I gathered the troops and got the rundown passed out.

Now! To the Venture!


Prep Notes

Location: Central Tamaryon, Sigisbruke 

The hub of commerce in Tamaryon located along the floodplains. Everything is connected by bridges outside the main walls. Wracker and Ocker use is necessary out here and the communion between man and beast has been a sort of local miracle. The walled-in town itself is the location of the local moots. Tensions regarding the rumored witchhunts are starting to ramp up here. Seems that the northern clans who have rejected the moots recently have been the ones stirring up so much trouble. 

Component 1: Knowledge 

Location: Central Longhouse (Gathering Hall, Professionals and Gentry info here) 

This large town is a beacon of civilization. Scholars and High Entertainers gather here and are essentially the keepers of the oral and written history of this land even before the war between Rbaja and Amboriyon started in some cases.  There may be clues about how to beat back the larger manifestations of magic. Amboriyon in particular given the region's long battles with it. Siegward (the Scholar from Swallowed by the Dark) likely hails from here. The scrolls themselves are closely guarded by the professionals and gentry. 

Krimhilde, Scholar/M.High (Professional) 

B 4 Q 8 W 8 C 5 

A 15 

Krimhilde is a formidable woman despite her age. She has risen to power as a shrewd tactician, a formidable fighter, and well equipped with the history of her people to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Her battle days are almost past her, but her mind stays as sharp as her sword.  People equally respect and fear her. 

Component 2: Monster 

Location: Outer stiltfarms (Peasants will notice the local distress. Freeman may also notice) 

Currently the flood season. It's time to get goods moving between growth and harvest seasons and FISH. As such, the ones that tend to find the most success make opportunistic use of Wrackers and Ockers. Let's go with the mistreatment of livestock. Gatorlike deathrolls. Drownings and such. 

BIG Ocker

B 9 Q 6  

A 3 

Wrackers 

B 9 Q 3  

A 6 

Gisbert, Farmer (Peasant) 

B 6 Q 4  W 4 C 4 

"Beasts a' been angry.  Dunno what's causin' em to get crazy, but people a' been getting hurt." 

Gerfried (outdoorsman) ascended early on. Riding a Wracker.

4 4 4 4 

Component 3: Rbaja Influence 

Location: Flooded Caves 

Rbaja wizard, using the cover of people disappearing in the fields. Kidnapping and sacrificing people. Outdoorsman seduced by the allure of eternal life. Working toward becoming a Lich. 

Uthal  

B 8 Q 5 W 8 C 4 

(I'm noting that I seem to run out of creative writing steam when I get to the third component of a venture)

Wading in the Waters

I decided to have some time pass since the last venture. Time for the dust to settle so to speak. With the knights spending so much time in Tamaryon already it seems that word from the area just keeps on reaching their ears. We started the venture with three players since Tre had been held back late at work and he was stuck in traffic. It happens to the best of us.

Kaleb (Wulf), John (Tabea), Conlan (Bern), Tre (late arrival, Karlman Oswald).

An interesting thing to note! We started the venture with all knights being peasants. I took the opportunity to get things down and dirty. The knights are following along a shepherd of sorts riding a Wracker through the flooded plains. A long line of peasants following behind, each with a heavy load of crops being transported across the land. The three of them are all waist deep crossing some deeper water.

Wulf 's personality was very much inspired by Willam Defoe's character from the recent film, The Lighthouse (Example). The players collectively have agreed that he always carries preserved seafood in a small pouch as a taste of home. I used this as an opportunity to introduce the players to Ockers. He feels something prodding around at his waist. "I grab at it!" a failed quickness, but he sees something dark glide away under the water almost like a stingray. His pouch of treats is missing, Wulf's sulks and curses under his breath as they continue traveling.

After a grueling day of hauling they finally arrive at the outskirts of Sigisbruke. The huts and longhouses out this far are all on stilts and rise along the banks of the river that runs parallel to the mountains of Rolke to the east. They dump the goods and have a stretch, lodging and food are not far from any of their minds. Tab perks up, "Anybody around? I've got solid charm so I should be able to get us a place to stay. Wulf should probably keep his mouth shut and stay close." The group agrees.

They walk along the bridges that connect the various domiciles along the water. In this case, I use the term bridges lightly. At best it's maybe two or three planks of wood wide and supported on logs driven into the ground below during the dry seasons. No handrails to speak of either. I cross my fingers that they get into a fight here later on.

They come upon a fisherman/farmer named Gisbert seated along one of these walkways who has his feet dangling just above the water below. Tab charms her way in with ease, Wulf can't resist chiming in to meet this fellow man of the water and bumbles... the poor lad. Gisbert's gaptoothed smile turns to a bit of a grimace, but he leads Tabea along to a cluster of hovels on some high ground. With two low entertainers in tow for this group, the night is lively with laughter and song. As well as booze! Wulf takes the opportunity to mend the failed charm roll with Gisbert before it's too late (They're learning! I'm so proud!)

They're incredibly curious about the local wildlife and Gisbert is happy to tell them of the Wrackers and Ockers and how their community has befriended the critters in most cases. However, he notes, people have been much warier around Ockers lately. Most Ockers don't get much bigger than a man, however with a community eager to feed them their fair share for helping with tasks or just plain entertainment it seems there may be a few that have become truly massive.

This conversation came up in the middle of the feasting and Gisbert offers to show them the critters. He grabs a bucket of scraps and steps out to the bridges. Squatting down he whistles a few times and for a moment there's only silence. Then the slime coated tentacles rise up from the black mirror of the water and poke and prod around over the wood. Wulf, ever bright, attempts to grab at one of the tentacles "Gimme back me lobster!" Gisbert speedily catches him by the collar of his tunic as Wulf's hand closes around a tentacle... it grabs back. For a split second, there's a tug of war before Gisbert whistles sharply and tosses the scraps into the water. The tentacle releases as does Wulf, left balancing precariously at the edge of the bridge.

Changing Course (Briefly)

The next morning the knights are up bright and early. Tab puts it out there that perhaps they should check out the town itself since that's what brought them there in the first place. She asks Gisbert to get them there and he obliges. He guides them in and drops them off at the longhouse. The three peasant-knights enter in and get a read of the room. It seems that everything is revolving around this one particular woman, Krimhilde. The place is adorned with multiple shields that seem to be decorated with crests from various clans.

Tab and Bern collaborate on a plan on how to play this out. They're definitely dealing with someone WAY out of their social league and a misstep will absolutely lead to a fight. They devise a plan to "act" as emissaries for the king in Rolke sort of staging a performance since at least it wouldn't be so jarring. Tab takes the lead and with everyone contributing to this performance I let them all roll for Charm. As long as one of them succeeds they get to keep their heads, which they do.

Without directly asking for the knowledge they're looking for they say they've come to solve the problem of big ole critters out at the farms as a token of good faith. Krimhilde cracks a smile and waves them off, "Well, get to it then."

So at this point, the players have connected the two components together in a pretty interesting way. Effectively turning into a pretty straightforward Kill Monster for Knowledge plotline.

Back to the Farms

At this point, Tre arrives and picks Karlman, an outdoorsman. The knights arrive out front of Gisberts hovel and essentially continue "the show". Tab announces to all within earshot, "Come one, come all. Witness a true feat of strength as we knights slay the creatures that haunt these shores!" People gather around as the knights armor up. They're all a bit uneasy, to say the least.

Tab gets to whistling and starts chumming the waters. Dark shapes move and shift in the murk drawing closer to the bridge. Their tentacles rise upward to investigate and amongst them are some pretty darn BIG ones.

Once the knights have eyes on target they get right to business. Bern kicks things off and draws the big one into a clash from his position on the bridge. He gets a good chunk of damage in, but his defense isn't high enough to block any coming his way. The creature's intention is to pull him into the water and Bern tumbles in as a tentacle grabs his wrist.

It's at this point that I pull up the drowning rules. According to the rules, it's just if you're in the water you're dead unless you know how to swim. I figured at the VERY least Bern would hold his breath and he'd get a single round to live and he'd have to hop one of his comrades reaches down to pull him out.

Wulf does so and Brawn vs. 12 is successful. Bern is up and out of the water a bit battered, but otherwise fine. The Ocker took a huge hit from Bern's spear so it was not happy, opting to try and retreat as the water turns red. Other Ockers are reacting and start attacking other knights upon the bridges. Knights opt to pump brawn before anyone else is pulled in and a well-thrown spear takes down one of the small ones. Wulf... he decides to pull out his knife and dive in after the big one before it can escape. He all-out attacks on his split.

The Ocker gets a decent roll, but with zero quickness has to rely on an even split. Hilariously it does enough damage to leave Wulf with one Brawn one Quickness, he had been at six and eight respectively. The big Ocker is dead, now the rescue effort begins. Karlman pumps a brawn and goes full lifeguard to rescue the floundering fisherman. Brawn vs. 12, successful and the two of them reemerge back onshore as the rest of the Ockers are seen off.

Aftermath

The knights clean themselves up, dry themselves off a bit, and drag the corpse out of the water. It's a bit of a mess, but they load it into a cart and start precariously wheeling it back into town. Krimhilde is suitably impressed. The knights hint that the king would be interested to learn more about their history (a bit of a wink wink nudge nudge). Krimhilde compromises and offers the young king a seat at the next moot. Considering the king's knights are people of quick and decisive action perhaps he's work meeting and establishing a relationship with.

They feast on fresh Ocker stew and then after a night of drinking begin the return trip back to Rolke.

Feedback

Feedback was skipped this week since we ended pretty late in the night. I'd say at this point we've got about two sessions left before we close out this series of ventures. I'm tempted to put together a new group for play through the Adept Play discord. Once I get to that point I'll put out some feelers for any of you that are interested.

 

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

CaramelCharcoal's picture

The title of the post should be Building Bridges (Circle of Hand Summary). Missed that fix when I posted it.

Ron Edwards's picture

Fixed!

PSA to everyone: please use the Contact form when you run into something like this.

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