I had another Very Runequest Moment. In fact, it’s a very Varmandi moment. The Varmandi consistently give me the most fun and the most facepalming.
As anyone who follows the campaign knows, every Dark Season, the Varmandi and the Hiording play in the Ice Shinty friendly match. It is a hotbed of cheating, boasting, and brawling. The songs about the exchanged gifts are a whole competition in themselves.
Last year, to avoid the whole mess, the PCs simply decamped to New Pavis and spent time in the Big Rubble. It was easier.
This year, they felt they rather had to stay and support the home team, and in any case, it would be frowned on if they left again. So, the first thing they did was stitch up someone else to be the captain. The second thing they did was to fail Insight (Human) to work out why the stitch-up was so easy – they were being helped along by someone with a plan.
The chosen captain was Tortagor, the steadiest and least likely to screw up of the chief’s sons. The PCs are headed by Farnan, #3 son, who captained a few years ago. He’s not great on the ice, so Tortagor asked him to keep an eye on the politics instead. Someone who DID make the team was Rastorlanth, #2 son, and the one who usually has the big ideas. And he had a big idea.
Rastorlanth conspired with his father’s trickster to have his own features put on the best player in Runegate, and then he hid. Unfortunately, the Hiording found him, and treated him as someone pretending to be Rastorlanth, son of the Varmandi chief.
Things came to a head when the captain of the Hiording team asked the Humakti PC to have the Rastorlanth on the ice swear on magic that he was really Rastorlanth. The opposing captain then showed the Humakti the real Rastorlanth, muddied and bruised in a pigpen, but made the grave error of being alone when he said that the man’s ransom was a thousand Lunars. The Humakti knocked him out with one punch, but the White Lady healed him because she thought that might cause a brawl, and the captain cast Dismiss Magic on the fake Rastorlanth, and THEN the brawl started…
This year the Varmandi lost at the gift-giving, the ice shinty AND the impromptu fight. Dark Season is the gift that keeps on giving, and the Varmandi are the clan that keeps on raiding that gift.