Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tekumel - Session 1

So the first session of the Tekumel campaign finally began. To begin with, I gave the players a brief overview of the world, and helped explain any details about the pre-generated characters that needed clearing up. Then the game began.

The Clan Elders decided to wait until the end of the rainy season before sending the PCs off on the journey. During the final days of rain, the group was selected (the PCs were introduced IC to each other and to the NPCs of the entourage). The escort was to consist of the PCs, a litter carried by eight slaves for the two highest-status PCs, eight baggage-carrying slaves, a slave-handler contracted from a lower-status Clan and six less-than-spectacular guards.

Once the rain stopped they waited two days to give the roads a chance to dry out, which Tsodlan used to drill his six guards and assess how good they were (not very- most just had Familiarity with their weapons) and make sure they were properly outfitted from the Clan-house armoury (properly meaning the armour wasn't likely to chafe even if it was tattered-looking and/or mis-matched).

The six guards consisted of:-

Dresu hiPayal, Tsodlan's son by his first wife (he took his Mother's lineage name as hers was higher), and Quren hiMarada, Tsodlan's son by his second wife. Whilst inexperienced, both are solid and reliable- except when it concerns each other. Their mothers dislike each other, and have managed to pass their feud onto the next generation- both sons will constantly look for reasons to put the other down, and feel aggrieved if their Father doesn't take their side over the other.

Trasuni hiMriyu- a cousin of Kemuel, who managed to persuade the Elders to send him on the trip which he sees as a great adventure. Far too confident in his own abilities, he'll rush headlong into danger- and if anything happens to him, some PCs may lose status in the eyes of the Clan.

Jaluda hiMaruda- a teenage girl who's declared Aridani status in a fit of rebellion after she took exception to the husband the Elders proposed to her. She's read stories of heroic Aridani warriors and believes she's going to follow in their footsteps. Completely unsuited for such a life, the hardships of the journey will make her realise that she's made a mistake and should renounce Aridani status, settling down to become a good Clan-girl. Unfortunately, this realisation will only come after it's too late for her to turn back and go home, leaving the PCs stuck with her.

Ssiyor and Jugar hiBeshene- members of the Turning Wheel Clan, experienced caravan workers who've seen a few scraps. Whilst not full-trained warriors, they're likely the most useful members of the Guard. Sirukel convinced their Clan to assign them, and his status takes a hit if they're lost.

After some sparring to show the basics of the combat system, the group departed the Clanhouse, on a three-day journey to reach the Sakbe road (the litter lacks reserve slaves, so has to travel slower). The first two nights were spent at the Clan-houses of some tenant farmer clients. The third day had several untoward events happening...

En route to a hostel that stood near the Sakbe road entrance, a slave collapsed. He awoke screaming and shouting. When order was restored, the party resumed the journey- only for the same thing to happen with another slave. Neither would give a clear answer about what happened to them, but both looked panicked and muttered about Sorcery. It was realised by the PCs that the reason Kemuel had been so quiet was that he'd suddenly decided he'd try and learn to use his powerful magical potential all by himself to pass the time whilst riding in the litter. The player actually got a critical success on an unskilled energy management roll. The connection made, Kemuel was blamed for the event and told never to repeat it. ("It's never good when the slaves know there's sorcery about" the Slave Handler told them. "They fear it more than the whip, and that's never good for discipline.") 

No PC (apart from the one playing Sirukel) made the connection that in both cases the slave who collapsed was carrying Sirukel's baggage- where he secretly stored unknown artefacts stolen from the Sarku Temple in his character background, one of which had activated as Kemuel's uncontrolled magical power saturated the area. Sirukel himself has no idea what any of these artifacts are, except that one is an Eye of unknown function (the player has shown a suitable reluctance to just start firing this randomly off and see what it does).

This event delayed them sufficiently that they were forced to spend the night in a crude shelter built for Hma-herders forced to camp away from the Clan-house. They made the shelter just before the rains began, and promptly evicted the herders and Hma alike to take cover from the renewed rains there.

Occasionally, quirks of the wind and weather will bring a false end to the rainy season. The torrential monsoon ends, but after a few days a brief storm comes on it's heels. Such a storm stranded the PCs for the night. When morning came, the rain was still falling. Waiting most of the day, they finally decided the rain wasn't going to end, so rather than camp there a second night, they braved the weather to push for their destination before sundown.

As evening came, the rain still fell as the light began to fade- but there, ahead of them, was the clan-house of the Golden Sheaf Clan which served as a hostel for the nearby Sakbe-road. But as they moved toward the welcome shelter, they stumbled across a dead man laying sprawled in the road...
If anyone thinks this sounds familiar, it's because I decided to run "A Dark and Stormy Night" from the Book of the Visitations of Glory Issue 1 as the first adventure. With so much work putting the start of the campaign together, I decided to run a pre-gen as the first adventure, and this seemed a great scenario that was easy to adapt just by replacing the travellers with the PCs.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you're setting up this conflict between the guards, surely a lot more work for you to manage, as a GM ... and a surprise (another one) for your PCs ("goodness, even the guards are people!?")
    - alx