Path of Blood 1


A playtest of something called Path of Blood


Not yet. I don’t want to send this in to Chaosium until I’ve solved a lot of problems, most of which I have made for myself. But, as always, I’m up for trying.

Finished Playtest?

Nope. This one is designed as a multi-session arc.

Follow-up. Always long?

I’ve managed to play this with an NPC taking the main part, and get it done in 4 hours, but having a central NPC relies on people having someone they all like (at least OOCly), and all of them not minding that person being a main part of the story, and I want to avoid that lock. That means discovery of secrets will take a lot longer, and require more NPC interaction.


Laika Pigwife
Rastar the Glib
Gastara Earthblood
Hengrast Silorsson
Jon Pol Joni

IC Action?


Massive spoilers. Players who have not played this should not read past this point.

Rather sweetly, on his way back to meet Ernakt, Jon went to visit Iyarala, and was blessed by her waters again.

Action started in Wilmskirk, where the group was gathered for various reasons. Laika called on Hengrast with her friends, to ask for a roof, and Jon came for the feast. One of Hengrast’s people had apparently seen a ghost at the thrall market – Hengrast’s dead uncle Eril. They decided to go deal with the problem themselves the next day. They did, with a detour from Gastara to check if the Earth Temple needed her. After a quick and very sensible failure to volunteer immediately for escorting Maran Gorites to Clearwine, Gastara rejoined the group.

There was no thrall market on that day, but it was an ordinary market day, as Wilmskirk was big enough to have a permanent market. There were pigs in the way, and a lost trollkin Thrall which had been told to stay where it was, and was begging for food. They moved the pigs on, out of the way. Enquiries were made about Eril, mostly by Jon, after everyone else rather failed to be charming or intriguing enough. Fangro, an Issarian who traded mostly in gossip was willing to look into Eril for him.

Rastar wandered around looking for interesting things to do or see, and was run into by someone who told him if he wanted to hear about Eril, then someone called Roka in Clearwine could help. Jon was told a little about Lord Eril Humakti – the head of a Regiment who was trying to form a Temple in Clearwine. A hard bastard, and not to be crossed. Hengrast wrote home with this news, and had a note back from his father to say never to tell his mother, but to look into it.

They went to Clearwine. Gastara presented at the Temple and got healed, and learned that the Maran Gorites had come, ceremonised, and gone. People attempted to investigate Eril further. Rastar had told his friends about Roka, so he, Hengrast and Jon went to see her. Jon had a good read on her as highly deceptive, while Hengrast was entirely mistaken about her reasons for acting, having fumbled Insight Human; he believed she was in love, and she told him that Eril needed rescuing. Having got his agreement to do that, she told them that she would start the Heroquest at dawn the next day.

The group talked a little, then meditated or purified themselves. Rastar, in his position as Eurmal the Damned Suspicious, made sure they all had blunted weapons. Hengrast managed to find enough inner calm that he was boosted for the next day’s activities through ritual.

At dawn, Roka gave Laika a chicken to sacrifice on a stone marked with a Truth Rune, outside the Lightbringers’ Temple. Laika did that, although she failed to make the Peaceful Cut properly. And they ended up in a Heroquest. Most were playing Lunars. Hengrast was playing Eril. He thought about his choices briefly, and legged it, getting away. Only Rastar, who failed a Hate Lunars roll, was lost inside his character. The rest were aware they were on the Hero Plane and the Middle World, and did some very good stupid-guarding, while Rastar tried to find Eril. He did very much enjoy being in charge.

Hengrast got away, but he was obviously sticking out, and had the option of losing his armour and blending in, or fighting his way out of a Lunar encirclement. He chose to fight, but the Lunars were played by his friends, and they elected to join him instead, comprehensively breaking the scene, and leaving everyone in the Middle World, surrounded by guards with bows and blunt weapons, as well as the usual spears and swords.

They surrendered, and one by one gave their stories to Dagrar, militia captain, who then had Roka’s capture ordered. He escorted them to the Orlanthi part of the Lightbringer’s Temple for justice, where they were kept waiting for some time until Asborn Thrice-born had dealt with the other matters, such as Eril’s complaint to the city about this problem. He then told them there was a lot of trouble, and it would be best if they stuck together and were very careful, but they had been tricked into a Heroquest, and were not at fault. He advised them to go and see Lord Eril as soon as possible, as the High Sword of Humakt had requested to meet them.


Massive spoilers. Players who have not played this should not read past this point.

Roka could have been anywhere – Wilmskirk would have done.

Getting the characters to meet up again was a bit awkward, but that’s the GM’s problem, not mine. Getting them to follow the plot hook was easy enough, but they were being nice about plot hooks. Hengrast had no real reason to look into the problem; the letter from his father pushed him into it.

It seems a bit of an IC coincidence how everything happened, in a ‘these are the adventurers let us start the plot that nobody else has started’ sort of way. Making Roka be in town rather than one of her tentacles be there would be a decent way of doing things. She can easily lie, look like someone else, or fall in with plans that suit her, but if she has fled Clearwine in fear, she could meet the adventurers wherever they are. She can even be a messenger from her own apparent kidnapper to put pressure on them. She could also have been in Clearwine all along and only been activated once characters started to look into Eril’s existence.

Roka probably should not have warned the others they were going to be Heroquesting. She should just have called them together and started it. Jon Pol Joni’s player made a good suggestion of using Hate (Lunar) as a roll to see if they were capable of remembering who they were. I was pretty much astounded by their later suggestion that they join him, however. I’m still trying to work out how to model that, and it’s almost game time once more. I think they have broken Eril’s path, but getting them to follow it again would be boring. Probably, what happens is that they can have his help and he can have theirs, but they are more bound to the result, in essense, extensions of him. Eril the Initiate is no longer friendless. However, the two who were turncoats may lose honour, or Loyalty to someone else.

I know the problem here, ultimately. I like and know the characters, and I’ve designed them according to how I play other games – low numbers of dice, lots of making things up as I go along; this is an adventure that I’m finding hard to write, because I think I have it written, but in fact I don’t. I have a path and a set of people, but I don’t have any reason for Runequest players or characters to interact with it. I’ve designed this as an Amber game. I need to rip out the descriptive personality sections, put in Runes instead, and trust the gamesmasters with delivery.

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