I said I’d post about this; it’s an example of how to have PC actions be cool. My PCs just saved Daine’s life, which was what I was hoping would happen. Otherwise there would have had to be a Divine Intervention, which would have been entirely possible, but not thematic to the PCs, and a bit of a let-down.
For those who don’t know, this is spoilery, but also interesting. The original Borderlands has an arc in which the Duke’s trusted man and best friend dies, betrayed by a thief called Tarnak. He’s alive in my GM’s game, and the game that I run is set in a flashback. So, Daine (or someone by that name) should really survive. If the players themselves were to decide to kill him, I’d let that stand, but I don’t want him killed by the plot. I also don’t want the players to just be sitting inside the carriage as I take them on a ride, though. So, they get to be part of it in a way that makes things awesome. And wow, they did.
After working out that Tarnak, ‘the Mayor’, had argued with Daine over something, the group was put on guard over the dragon’s cave to be sure it did not come back unexpectedly. It came back, they gave the required warnings – and Tarnak and Daine didn’t leave the cave. Then the hunter found Tarnak’s trail, and followed it to where a bundle of reeds, not even a boat, had been pushed into the river. There was no reason at all that Daine would not have told them Tarnak was going somewhere – so they knew there was a problem.
They volunteered to go into somewhere with a dragon, to check on and maybe rescue a wounded Rune Lord, or even recover his body. And when the dragon chased them out, the Vingan went in again, cloaked in Dark Walk, found Daine, healed him, and handed him her sword. It’s that last little bit that really affected him. He’d had his stolen, along with the armour that Tarnak could take easily, and she just offered hers up, in a cave, in the near darkness, because he was better with it.
It turns out that an updated Rune Lord of Humakt can defeat a dragon pretty easily, because Sever Spirit is a terrifying spell, and if you are not worried about the tactical problems of having a dead dragon discovered by your enemy’s scouts, and are in a bad temper, that dragon really should consider other options.
If they had not rescued him, he would have been able to get away with Divine Intervention, but I’d have had him get away to Tourney Altar, badly wounded, and he’d have been honour-bound to recover his sword and armour before returning, thus making the Duke’s next few seasons exceedingly awkward. Although they don’t know this, the PCs have made the Five Eyes Temple clear-out possible, not just because they cleared the way to the secret passage, but because they kept Daine in the area.
They’re also about to be given a genuine milk run, going in as late-stage back-up to the newtling scouts, and helping to secure the area behind the Temple, where most of the food stores are. Daine isn’t going to invade the main temple until he’s ready, and he’s not going to risk these valuable people who came into the cave when there was no binding oath on them. After that is another easy task, accompanying him to see Tarnak. Daine’s a Humakti. He’s not going to abandon his sword. There will be questions.
So, what they won was persuading Daine and Raus to trust them and rely on them, keeping the Temple as part of Raus’ domain, and whatever rewards Raus chooses to give them. It’s not going to be small – as far as the Duke is concerned they saved his life. As far as the GM is concerned, they went far beyond what I expected, caring about someone who had always worked them hard, but never ever betrayed them. I really thought they would end up deciding they could not go in a second time, and then, like the Varmandi that she is, the Vingan just wouldn’t stop fighting. She converted a plot point into a rescue which took cunning and bravery, and changed the outcome of the temple rebellion.
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I’m building up to running this in my campaign. I’m just waiting for my maps to be ready. Are you running the original layout, or the expanded one?
How have you fleshed out Tarnak?
I’ve left Daine as YT, I want to see how the party Humakti interacts with him. Was there any strong reason to change him, or just MGF?
I’ll stop asking questions for now.
I’m not entirely sure what you mean by original/expanded. I’m running whatever is in Borderlands and Beyond, which I think is the original campaign, in a rebuilt book that has other material at the back. It’s said that Daine is a Sword of Humakt, or of Yanafil Tarnils if that’s of more use to the gamemaster. If you’ve played a version in which he followed Yanafil Tarnils, I suspect it was of more use to your gamemaster… An interesting thing is that he has no allied spirit, but I asked my GM if he’d have one, and the answer for that campaign is yes, so, as noted to the incredulity of the group, Tarnak stole a Rune Master’s sword with an allied spirit in, and then tried to hide. HehehhAHAHAHAHA nope.
Tarnak was a bit part before now, but came into his own when the group were waiting at the camp, hanging around, and doing their scouting. He was in various conversations with them, and became much more of a real person because of the background of that scenario – there is a lot of waiting around, going in and out, and in our case letting Daine set the different things they were going to do. Look into THIS place. Scout THAT place. Talk to the dragonewts… The group had a camp full of newtlings that was a safe place they could go back to between bits of plot, and Daine and Tarnak were there most of the time. Down-time RP had him cooking, repairing things, being generally useful, and also being a good scout that Daine apparently trusted. (He did. Alas for him. He’ll know better next time.)
There was an updated/expanded map for the Five Eyes temple in on of the Beyond Pavis books. I might have a copy of the map, but not the notes that accompany it.
Ah, cool. I didn’t know that. Thank you.
I know Sever Spirit for Humakt is tradition and Canon. I’ve just never been a fan. Humakt provides all these wonderful spells and abilities to make one a kick ass warrior. Then you cast some weasely spell like a sorcerer? Your opponent might not even see his doom approaching, nor be able to curse you with their dying breath. Where’s the honor and glory?
If you’re fighting for glory, you’re fighting for the wrong reason.
Sever Spirit is how Death is held and used in the mind of the Humakti. Some people might say that having but not using it is the correct course, as is only using it rarely. Daine would be one of those people.
Very cool. Not though of keeping him alive. I’ve developed Jezra’s character in my campaign.
I have GM’d _Borderlands_ a few times. I like your story here. Thank you.
By the by, sometimes I see footnote numerals in the text, and then I cannot find a subsequent footnote numbered for the additional information. I suspect a formatting error in my browser (Safari). Do other folks experience this disconnect?
Hi Esoteric2723 – if you are talking about the footnotes in our blog, it has to do with the nature of the WordPress footnote plugin. Just click on the number and hopefully the footnote will appear for you. You can check to see if that works by popping over to my Stuck in a rabbit hole post (https://beer-with-teeth.games/stuck-in-rabbit-hole-please-send-pleistocene-era-carrots/) and clicking on the footnote in the first paragraph.
I’m not sure if I want to agree with Daine surviving….you see…Daine is actually MY character. Ironically, Daine was not actually a Runequest character at all, but rather my original style (3 book set) D&D Dwarf warrior. The author of the 5 Eyes portion of the Borderlands scenario pack was my best friend in high school (way back..we graduated ’79) and he immortalized Daine’s death at the hands of Tarnak in our D&D campaign within this Runequest scenario. FWIIW, no one actually “originally” played Borderlands. Tony submitted 5 Eyes and it was combined with several other scenarios initially created independently to create the Borderlands concept. I recall to this day, sitting at his kitchen table, coming up with the rhyming names of the newts (Boi, Choi, etc.)
That is actually really cool. Thank you for letting us know.
Daine surviving is, as it turns out, accidental. My GM wanted to leave the world open, in case anyone else wanted to run Borderlands, but it was 1626 when we went past that way. Nevertheless, the events in Borderlands hadn’t happened. However, I didn’t know that, and so when I started up my campaign in 1613, and the PCs ended up exiled in Prax, I ran Borderlands myself, assuming that the GM had kept them around because they were interesting political animals, and that the events HAD happened. So in a way the GM got what he wanted – someone played that game who got a lot out of it.
But yeah, I get what you mean about Daine’s survival in that case. It must be really strange to see it happening one way when you genuinely know it happened another.
The newtlings are a key part of the RP, though – having them be people is really cool.