I am not sure how many people do this regularly, but this week I set a challenge for myself: Allow myself no preparation at all and only use the pages of my Kavallor Almanac for reference.
Admittedly, I usually don’t prep much and let my players drive the story. Most of the time, I just give them leads to follow with a story in mind and see where they take it. Even if I think I will use a module, I read the module and see where I will ad lib and that is it. If I make an adventure, it is an outline with interactions, creatures, and a quick map if I need it.
For this session, the plan was to get them on their way from Gyrskallen to Izcopolitzk. They had a few options to choose from:
- They could take a mountain trail between Kalerutsk and Moratavia.
- They could go through Kalerutsk, which is mostly farmland with many small groups of people.
- They could take the southwestern route, which goes through the Marches and then the Whelm Lands, which may have flood issues already.
- They could go the Northern route through any of the Stonelands nations, which I was sure they would decline. That route had been nothing but trouble and Moratavia (Stonelands nation) would probably be just as difficult.
Once in Izcopolitzk, there would be a midwinter festival going on with all sorts of eating and drinking contests and other activities. No mystery to solve, no one to rescue, no dungeons, no items to retrieve, etc.. An actual break – IF they wanted it!
We’d just have to see how it all played out.
Getting to the next location
After the last session’s “let it out and tell the truth” ending, they chose the most direct path to avoid people and have time to think about all that happened. That meant they endured the harsh mountain pass. It definitely tested their limits. The Merchant Prince lost his wagons in the first few days.
But eight sennights (weeks) later, they were ready to deal with people again. And, more importantly, they were all ready for some good, hot food and a soft bed for a few nights. Most of them wanted out of the mountains. Only the Dwarven Runepriest and the Gnome Geomancer were ok with the rough travel after that much time.
They met a mounted border patrol shortly after entering the hills of Izcopolitzk. The party’s hackles were up, but there ended up being no attack or request for aid. The party was warned by the patrol to not go Northeast as Stahl scouts have been seen leading rise to concerns of a war this spring. They were also warned of Vulfin have been seen to the North and have attacked a Stahl scouting party. The Companions calmed down with paranoia and adventure avoided. [I silently laughed.] After a friendly meeting, the Companions of the Diamond Circle sullied forth to the city Kruzkow only a few days away that they were told about.
Once outside the Southeastern gate of the wall surrounding Kruzkow, they met a friendly enough group of guards. Anatoly (Guardsman) gave directions to the party for some decent inns and told them about the festival. Anatoly says he won the contest two years ago but last year a brute of a man named Vladimir beat him by more than a few pierogies. They found the Frozen Mammoth Inn and got the last two rooms.
Now to relax and enjoy the festivities?
Once they were settled in the inn, Luther, Lear, Freeia, and Connell got to try dessert pierogies from the Pykrysyan innkeeper’s recipe. The innkeeper sold them cheap, as they had never had them before. After all, Luther and Connell were convinced to go to the festivities to have some pierogies.
Turok and Lawrence went to the market and sold one maul to a merchant for a lot of iron rations who wanted to make one last sale before he left to watch the eating contest.
Lear wanted to find a Tower of High Sorcery to learn more magic, but Freeia convinced her to join in the festivities as all businesses are probably shut down anyways.
Seeger (Human Padre (Specialty Cleric of Diamond Dragon)) went to visit a kirk (church) to commune with Diamond.
Coraliden (Human Mainyu (Shaman)) just wanted some time to gather items and pray to the spirits of the land for getting us all here safely.
Luther, then Lawrence, tried to sell another maul to a fellow at the grounds named Vladimir the bear who says he wrecked his last one on a Vulfin when he was out in the Northeast visiting friends. He says he is in the pierogy contest and is hungry. [Yes, for those that are curious if this is the same Vladimir.]
Slater (the Human Thief) talked with a lady in the night crew and looked to be making headway. Freeia just laughed.
There is a dunk tank and Turok the Dwarf wanted to get Slater dunked. It was only -7 degrees C out and a few dunks would not hurt him. Turok was still angry about the mountain being drowned and having to figure a way out after Slater pulled the lever that caused it all. Turok throws a puck at Slater and then one at the target hitting both successfully.
Lawrence (Human Merchant Prince) and Luther (Sollux Sun Brother (Cavalier)) decided to enter the pierogy-eating contest. Turok gave a weapon to sell to Luther, who then put it by Lawrence. The weapon was taken away with the others put on the stage after protestations by Lawrence. Lawrence did not understand all the words that passed before the weapon was taken away. The most important word he missed was ‘bid’.
Freeia (Tiefling Warlock), Lear (Gnome Geomancer), and Connell (Human Prestidigitator (like an Arcane Trickster)) decide to sit back and watch the eating contest.
Freeia payed off the lady that Slater was chatting up to take care of him for a day. In the meantime, Slater put up a quintar (pp) to have Turok put in the dunk tank. They can’t refuse that amount for a dunk tank.
Turok gets nominated to the dunk tank amid protest but goes willingly enough not understanding all the words yet. He is angry after he realizes what he agreed to.
Slater took no cheap shot at the Dwarf, but a clear bull’s-eye [Natural 20] was made of the target. Turok was wet and even angrier.
Slater promptly left with the aforementioned lady.
Someone else loved seeing the Dwarf get wet and spent 20 Halers (sp) trying to get him dunked again. He succeeded on the last attempt. Turok was now furious as he thought this was all Slater’s doing.
Turok went to find Slater to find revenge for getting him wet here, and in the mountain. In addition to any other sleights, imagined or otherwise, that was in his book of grudges with the thief.
The pierogy contestants eat a lot. Luther is out on the fifth round; Lawrence goes to round seven but loses out to Vladimir the bear. Vladimir kept eating – he even grabbed other contestants’ plates.
Lawrence wanted the maul back. Vladimir said he won it fairly as Lawrence put it up for bid. Lawrence had a “What the …?” moment, and his misunderstanding was now gone. Luther tried to explain, but realized he does not know enough of the language. Luther ran off after Turok to help and hoped that Turok went in the same direction the whole way.
Freeia, Lear, and Connell laughed at this whole situation and were unable to stop.
Now here is where things are about to go to hell in a handbasket, as they would say.
To be continued in Part 2…
Clear skies fellow GM’s and players – until next time!
Keith R. Byers, A.Sc.T., Esq.