The cast of characters:
Laneth, Elf Hobo Ranger. Spent a century or so afflicted by a hereditary curse, now temporarily held at bay by dark sorcery, specifically an amulet. Currently afflicted with the curse of weresharkdom. Jawesome.
Horribly in debt: because of their hobo ways.
Bonds: Sven is an ally of nature, I must protect him.
Brinn, Halfling Thief Magnet. Epitome of debauchery, kleptomania and larceny.
Horribly in debt to Jabba the Hutt
Bonds: Currently running a con with Morgan.
Sven Svenson, Northerner Fighterman covered in animal furs of everything he has hunted so far. Former farmer searching for his brother who left before him.
Horribly in debt because of farm backtaxes.
Bonds: To make Morgan, hard like me.
Morgan, Elf Wizard. Haunted child with an overall general confusion, kidnapped by a hermit wizard after taking 1st place at a village Math Fair. (Courtesy of the Dungeon Dozen) Seeks to be a normal member of society.
Horribly in debt to that damn hermit.
Bonds: Laneth is wrong, I must teach her the true way of the world.
I really enjoyed how short and to the point character creation was. It was smooth to the point and really tied the team together. Also, another great use for +Jason Sholtis most excellent Dungeon Dozen copy.
I started the game off 'in medias res' by explaining their part of a caravan traveling over what has so far been a very safe route through the forest of long teeth. The bard's terrible ballad was interrupted the roar of a great cat in the distance, odd climate for a jungle cat to be in. "Guess that forest guardian is some kinda megakitty" says Audran Donello the Caravan Master.
Flashback to Terminus the Merchant Capitol. The party stands amidst a throng of people listening to Donello on a soapbox recruiting the finest sellswords Terminus has to offer to protect the merchant caravan. In his possession is a map containing the path of Eldath theVerdant Lord, Sylvan Titan verified by three different sages. While the coin he is offering is incredible many do not heed the call, for there are no easy ways back to Terminus without a month of travel. Only the foolish, the adventurous and those horribly in debt are drawn to his proclamation. The PCs naturally.
They meet up the next day waiting for their new patron to show up. He's late. They take a moment to get acquainted with the other hooligans that signed up for this fool venture.
- Holy Alma, Saint of the Turtle Faith and her bodyguard Anders,
- Figaro Del Rey, retired Master Fencer and his pupil Sahm
- Ezrel, dappered sage. Curious of the veracity of the Verdant Lords path.
- A spoony bard.
Brinn sensing trouble on the horizon makes use of her thievery abilities to detect imminent traps. She notices the pair smoking pipes in an alleyway have chainmail beneath their longcoats and the glint of a badge. A sting! Brinn and Morgan book it out of there, no honor among thieves.
After their departure a carriage and a wagon reinforced with steel (expensive?!) with platforms for meditating mystics roars into view being pulled by a pair of giant Moas. "No time to explain, get on!"
Morgan and Brinn are looking for horses, instead they find a bull pen and Constable Gentleman. "Oh, those fives horses last month weren't enough for you? Now you're a cattle thief, for shame Brinn, best turn yourself in." No. way. "Look, there's a sniper on that rooftop, the only way you're getting out of this is to come with me". Morgan fails a number of spellcasting rolls trying to startle the bulls and the archer takes fire. Finally the bulls are sent into a stampede and the dynamic duo ride the bulls out of there after some mild trampling.
Meanwhile, Sven and Laneth have a pair of Lawmen riding giant Iguanas spring up out of the woodwork. Sven leaps off only to fall flat on his face. Laneth puts an arrow in a lawman's should and he tumbles off giving Sven the opportunity to tame the beast, upgrading his mount from a Moa to a giant Iguana. The pair head out fending off some more Iguana riders while the Caravan thunders past.
The two groups run into each other, as the Iguana riders have to duck out of the way of a stampede. Sven is struggling to control the Iguana and they find themselves hanging upside down from a rooftop. Neither of them hold on for long. A failed rescue attempt is made before everyone is trampled. The party snags the last errant bull and hightail it out of there looking for the caravan and licking their wounds.
So far, very fun introduction. Everything was fast fluid, giving the PC's narrative control and letting them spout lore to fill in the details of the world is quite fun. The chase scene was easy to handle and the players were creative with their abilities. The cracks in the system did not appear until later, I'll handle that in part two.