A playtest of something called Path of Blood
Not yet. We’ll be throwing this out to try publication, and an any-time guess is a good guess.
No Gastara this week; obviously she was called on by the Earth Temple.
Massive spoilers. Players who have not played this should stop reading now!
Rastar did his own Divination, asking what had happened to Eril and the Relics, and was told, ‘He was tricked, and used the trick. Oh, what a Eurmalite he’d have made. Tricked by a burning bull.’ Everyone recognised the description of the now-dissolved Firebull Clan when they heard the slightly edited description from Rastar.
They took the trip from Clearwine to Wilmskirk; on the way, the adventurers saw a Trollkin tied to a tree. It was, as Jon worked out with a successful battle roll, left there as an alarm. The Dark Troll it belonged to came out of the woods on the other side of the road, but fortunately they spotted it before it (and its band of slaves) started eating the horses. It was a big Zorak Zorani troll with a cheek piercing that had a human hand attached. It was Not A Nice Troll.
However, Laika had spotted Lunars. While this was the result of two fumbled Scan rolls, she was very, very convincing, and the troll decided not to eat that group, but to go after the delicious unarmoured Lunars. The group reached Wilmskirk before the troll caught up with them again. They settled into town, and asked around about Eril 20 years ago, the troll, and the things that might have happened.
Jon asked at the Market about the troll, and was told it was a known Zorak Zorani in the area, but it had broken no laws within the town. It was responsible for the abandoned trollkin, however. Laika had much the same answer from the Ernaldan Temple, but with the addition that the axe maidens had been told not to go out looking for trouble, but might be going for a walk in that direction soon.
Hengrast and Rastar went to the Sambari Tribal leaders and were greeted by King Greyskin himself, who knew Hengrast a little. Rastar failed to impress with his singing, but did very well indeed at the harp, impressing Greyskin’s bard Galanem. The man was able to recite acts which had happened twenty years before, and said that it was then Eril had left his family, over a matter of a failed raid against the Firebulls. This had been two years before the invasion. The Firebulls would sing songs of the victory at Cavalry Pond, but beyond revealing they had tricked Eril into a Heroquest where he was the loser, they were silent about which quest.
Over the course of the next day, more investigations took place; the group visited the Humakti Shrine, where they spoke with the God Talker, who refused to give his name. He respected Eril as a High Sword, but was obviously not enamoured of him personally, and did remember him a little from his youth. He recalled a bookish young man who was always going to join the Humakti, but did not object to people thinking he was going to be a scribe. Eril was popular, a good leader, and a fine warrior. Jon asked what the coin that D’Val had given him was, and had a Turn Undead matrix described to him. The details of how Eril had been treated by the Firebulls were sealed by the Temple, ashe had come to make a private report on it. However, the god talker said they would know the tale and its sequel once they found out. There was no record of Eril coming back in the year of the invasion.
Rastar went off to find and talk to ex-Firebulls. He got on pretty well until he started talking about the details of the quest, at which point one of his newfound friends walked him out and told him a few things; the Quest divided the Firebulls, because it was not a good one to use. It had been so successful that it created a section of the Upland Marsh in Firebull lands, separate from the other Marsh, yet part of it. When Rastar shared this with his friends, they worked out the implication that, given the association of Undeath with Chaos, this put the Firebulls in a very bad light indeed.
Armed with this information, they set off for Hengrast’s home, the Cinder Fox lands, arriving safely to be greeted by his brother Venlar, who was astoundingly like Eril in looks.
Massive spoilers. Players who have not played this should not read more.
The general meandering through this campaign is … OK to me, but I’d prefer it to be faster when written. I’m judging things by my group and letting them do things individually, and I need to let them do so. Discussions with one of the players turned over that he felt it was linear – the nature of the Heroquest made it so. I don’t think, and he doesn’t think either, that there is a big problem with revealing more right at the start. I could do that, and then offer the extra Heroquesting parts as ways of getting bonuses of some kind, but while I did start out with this game being designed around going through those Quest parts, I think I’m probably going to end by avoiding it as much as possible for the write-up. It’s the solution for so many difficulties.