Purple Gold 3: We didn’t start the fire


A playtest of something called Purple Gold.


Not yet. We’ll be throwing this out to try publication, and an any-time guess is a good guess.

Finished Playtest?

Yes. It took a session

Follow-up. Always a session?

No, but a session is most usual.


Broamast, Humakti heavy cavalry from the Donalf Clan, Dinacoli Tribe
Orlakt, Humakti light infantry from the Black Rock Clan, Amad Tribe
Orlston, Lhankor Mhy philosopher from the Donalf Clan, Dinacoli Tribe


Run by the nicer small GM. Her second foray into GMing. Happened between sessions 2.1 and 2.2 of the previous Purple Gold test, but has nothing to do with them beyond using the same plot. Written up by nicer small GM.

IC Action?


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

Sea Season, Illusion Week, Waterday

The story began with our heroes in Golden Plough, the home village of the Donalf Clan. The two Humakti were escorting their kinsman to Boldhome so that he could give High Sword Eril a firsthand accounting of recent events in Alda-Chur. To make the journey, the three had to travel south, and after a few days on the road they came to the Dinacoli village of Dagran’s Ford.

Dagran’s Ford controls access to the ford and thus to the road. As they approached, they noticed the fields were strangely empty. It was a time for planting and no one seemed to be planting. In the distance, they spotted greasy smoke coming from the village. The three travellers rode up to the village gate cautiously, both Humakti having drawn weapons. There they were greeted by a sniffling young warrior, standing guard all by himself.

They exchanged greetings with the guard, who informed them that people in the village were sick and some had even died. The smoke came from their funeral pyres. Broamast had no desire to contract whatever illness plagued the village and proposed bypassing it, but the village is strategically placed so that they control access to the ford. They were going to have to pass through. The others agreed to go as swiftly as possible to the ford gate, despite the young guard’s suggestion that they speak with his Headman.

The village itself was eerily quiet. Few people moved between buildings and no one greeted them. They reached the ford gate and found a second guard. This man was gruff, complaining about how the nearby village of Stone Bowl had betrayed them by poisoning them all at a feast. As he collected payment, his hands shook and he dropped the coins. Orlston politely picked up the coins for the man and suggested to his companions that perhaps they should meet with the headman after all. Orlakt readily agreed, whilst Broamast was still reluctant, but together they re-entered the village and made their way to the Headman’s house.

They passed the funeral pyres respectfully, choosing not to disturb the mourners there. Their knock on the Headman’s door was greeted by Kara, Garasang’s sister. The exhausted young woman welcomed them to her home, but was too busy tending to the ill to spend much time with them. They attempted to speak to Headman Garasang, who raved about fire and poison and demanded revenge on the people of Stone Bowl. They attempted to treat him for poison, and whilst Orlston felt certain he knew exactly what to do, nothing made a difference for the older man. He remained hovering at death’s door.

Broamast, Orlakt, and Orlston considered their options and began to wonder if they should perhaps visit this village of Stone Bowl. As they prepared to leave, they encountered a man who introduced himself as Sarist, Garasang and Kara’s brother. He entreated them to visit Stone Bowl, not because he believed this to be an attack by them, but because he worried for them as well.

While Orlakt and Orlston paused to carefully choose their best course of action, Broamast leapt into it. Before anyone knew what was happening, the young warrior had mounted his horse and crossed the ford. Orlston pursued, leaving Orlakt to catch up as best he could. He couldn’t.

Orlston caught up to his half-brother and the two of them arrived at Stone Bowl before dusk. As with Dagran’s Ford, they noticed a distinct lack of farmers in the fields, though admittedly, it was late in the day. When they approached the entrance to the village, they found their path blocked by a herd of highly uncomfortable heifers, in need of milking. The gate hung open and unwatched. Nervously, the two entered the village.

Over the noise of the cattle, Orlston heard the sound of a child crying, coming from one of the houses. He and Broamast decided to investigate. The door was answered by a boy of ten, who, after some convincing, allowed them in. Inside, they found a group of children, an inconsolable infant, and their gravely ill father. At first, they worried the baby was ill, but they changed it and engaged in other routine baby maintenance to see if that would help. Broamast, having once been a colicky infant himself, recognised the condition as one the baby would likely outgrow eventually.

Meanwhile, Orlakt finally had the village in sight. Yelm was low on the horizon as he made for the gate and thus he somehow missed noticing the group of villagers brandishing bramble blades as they charged at him. They set about beating him, though his horse bore the brunt of their attack and fled, leaving Orlakt behind. A scuffle ensued, the noise of which drew his cousins out of the village. Between them, the two warriors killed four of the five maddened villagers, and rendered the last unconscious. Orlston bravely rounded up Orlakt’s horse from where it hid amongst the cattle. They bound the unconscious villager to a horse and re-entered Stone Bowl.

A cry drew them to the home of Yana, a young girl whose parents were gravely ill and whose grandfather was missing. Yana and her siblings were hungry and scared. Our heroes promised to do what they could for the village. As they left, Yana warned them to be careful of her auntie, next door. Her auntie had yelled at her and was acting strangely and it was all very scary.

Concerned, Broamast knocked on the door of the next house. As the door opened he was hit simultaneously with the smell of death and the knife of a raging woman. Her knife slide off his bronze armour and he attempted to knock her out with a punch. He missed and Orlston leapt in, attempting to wrestle the woman to the ground. A grappling match ensued and eventually, between them, they subdued the woman. (Broamast – did you knock her out in the end? Pommel strike, if I remember correctly.)

The trio made their way to the Headman’s house in a hurry to make sense of what was going on. They were greeted at the door by Voskar, Salimyr’s youngest daughter. Like Kara at Dagran’s Ford, Voskar was exhausted from caring for everyone else. Still, she welcomed them into her parents’ home and did her best to answer their questions. They asked to speak to her father, Salimyr, but unfortunately the Headman was too sick to speak to them.

They asked Voskar about the well. She told them about Thurolta and how the well came to be. Like her mother, she was afraid that the spirit had abandoned the village. At their request, she agreed to take them to the well, after they pointed out that if the spirit was there, it would surely recognise her and they were strangers. As they approached the well, a pair of maddened pigs charged them and Voskar rapidly remembered that her place was in the roundhouse, caring for her parents. Broamast made short work of the pig that charged him. Orlston jumped between the other pig and Voskar and stabbed it with his sword. Orlakt, a Humakti, decided to attempt to hit the pig with his mind, endeavouring to engage a living creature in spirit combat. In the end, it was the philosopher with the sword who carved up the bacon.

Orlakt’s attempts at spirit combat drew the attention of a lesser disease spirit, which manifested and attacked him. He defeated the spirit, resisting its attempts to infect him with purple gold, though not without difficulty and the aid of his companions.

Now that they had won a certain amount of peace, the three young men investigated the well. As Yelm had set some time ago, artificial light was needed. Orlston conjured a small conflagration, allowing them to see into the water. They discovered a body wedged between the wall of the well and the stone bowl at its base.

In a surprising moment of impulse, Broamast decided to leap into the well. Luckily for him, Orlakt tied a rope around him first, because Broamast didn’t know how to swim and rather rapidly began to drown instead. After rescuing the soggy Humakti from the water, Orlston took a turn at it and was more successful. It took some effort, but he was able to raise the body to the point where Orlakt and Broamast could pull it from the well. As they examined the body, they noticed evidence of head injury that might have been caused by falling. Orlston opted to cast a reconstruction spell, in an effort to understand how the man had died. The spell showed a fight beside the well with another man wearing the same clan tattoos.

Deciding they needed more information, our heroes returned to speak with Voskar once again. Dripping water all over the floor, they told her what they’d discovered. She identified the body as Offir, a villager who had been missing since the feast. She suggested they visit the home of Hent, another villager known to have a quarrel with the deceased.

At Hent’s home, the door was answered by his wife Eness. Heavily pregnant and exhausted, she informed them that her husband was ill and had been for a couple of days. Reluctantly, she allowed them to examine him, whereupon it became apparent that he had been the one fighting with Offir by the well. He was in no condition to answer questions, however, as he was acutely ill. Orlston noticed that Eness had an impressive collection of herbs. When he asked her about them, it was revealed that she was exclusively drinking teas meant to help her pregnancy. The herbs had been given to her by the village healer, who lived at the end of the village.

Suspicious of a poor old woman and her teas, the heroes decided it was necessary to interrogate her. When they knocked on her door, she opened it, asked who they were, and then slammed the door in their faces when she didn’t recognise them. This was repeated several times, as Orlston attempted to charm and fast talk his way through the door. Eventually, Broamast simply opened it and charged in, pursuing the old woman as she left by way of her garden door.

Somehow, after nearly running her down, the gruff Humakti lad was able to win the old woman over and she was willing to answer his questions. Unfortunately for him, she didn’t have any useful answers. She was easily confused and sometimes lost track of what was going on.

For some strange reason that I cannot remember, Broamast decided it was imperative that he check on the cows by the front gate again. He mounted the horse he’d rather conveniently parked outside, and galloped/trotted/cantered/rode rapidly through the village and right through a disease spirit. The spirit pursued him, attacking him, and infecting him with an acute case of purple gold. In spite of his sudden illness, he stopped to milk a cow and test its milk by drinking it. I have yet to fully understand why, and I think his brother and cousin were equally confused.

The damp and now feverish Humakti returned to inform the others that the cattle were fine and by the way, he was sick. They began to search the rest of the village, as Broamast’s symptoms rapidly worsened. When he began to see strange visions and felt like his skin was on fire, Broamast made the decision to return to the Healer’s house. By focusing on Truth, he knew that the visions were hallucinations and that he needed to let the healer do her work. He drank one of her teas and fell into a fitful sleep.

As they went to explore the cattle pens, they noticed the looming dark shapes of the granaries and went to investigate. Careful searching led Orlston to the Headman’s granary with its cracked floor and some spilled grain. The cousins decided they needed more help, preferably in the form of someone who understood the nature of disease. They returned to the healer’s home and begged her to come with them. Reluctantly, the old woman followed them back to the granary.

As Orlston debated the wisest course of action, Orlakt grew impatient and simply flung open the granary door. A purple mist boiled out of the granary and immediately attacked. As Orlston and Orlakt engaged in desperate spirit combat with the disease spirit, the healer (played by Broamast’s player) was suddenly inspired to ignite the grain. The granary burst into flames and as the spirit was defeated by the combination of spirit combat and the burning of its host grain.

Unfortunately, the wind was brisk and the fire spread rapidly in every direction. Orlakt and Orlston helped evacuate the village. By the time Yelm began his slow ascent, the surviving villagers were on the road with their cattle. Improvised stretchers slung between cattle carried those too ill to walk, including Broamast. The Headman’s house made a suitable pyre for Voskar’s family. As the only survivor of her household, the young woman took charge, bravely facing adversity and leading her people and their … saviours… to Dagran’s Ford to seek aid.


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

This was a test of the ‘just passing through’ plot hook, which seemed to work. Rolling on honour might be appropriate to get people to do that – I think we added that into the notes, but I’m not sure. ‘Just passing’ is the weakest of all the plot hooks, so if this does get sent back to us for more edits, we may add in a note that it could be combined with more hooks after the players have turned down the first.
This is another playtest in which fires happened. We wrote up the rules for flames leaping from house to house because of this test, so well done to Broamast’s player. This was more destructive than the 2.2 playtest, as the GM decided to have fun with the fire and she knows how it spreads in thatch. There were a couple of other changes, mostly to do with names, and we decided based on this and the other test that Garolist should be encountered in his house, not outside – there was originally a space for him burying his beloved hunting alynx. That got filled in with the villager ambush, allowing us to keep our numbering scheme. We changed around the flow of the village so the market and pigs were higher up, and then based on that feedback and the changes in 2.2, we decided to stop fiddling.

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