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1/09/2019 12:22 pm  #1


Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

My group is starting a new campaign this Friday (we ran character creation and setup the storyline with a mini adventure on day 1). We decided to try a different approach than has been customary in past campaigns. Rather than rolling up an individual character and then building whatever back story was desirable to the player we opted to pick a region, choose a race, tribe, etc. and weave a storyline that supported this accepted premise: we were going to be barbarians from the same tribe, albeit filling different character classes. The general idea was that the coming of age ceremony and subsequent tribal celebration would launch us on our grand campaign. The celebration is its own adventure but our GM crafted it in such a way that if we do survive its intial perils we will be presented with an opportunity, perhaps a cultural imperative, to continue our adventures, thus launching our grand campaign.

​As we all know, even celebrations can be dangerous in Hyperborea. We had two party members go down in the intro adventure but, with some lucky rolls and timely healing, they survived - barely!

​We chose to be Half-Picts (well, all but one of us) living along the Savage Boreal Coast. Our tribe, the Giant Otter Clan (yes, we rolled for that, LOL) is celebrating the onset of "Spring" and the annual coming of age for young members of the clan entering into adulthood. While we (Great Otter Clan) are wary of all nearby clans, including those devils called the true Picts of New Pictland who launch periodic raids on their half-blood mainland cousins and the Otters, we hold special enmity toward the Shark Clan who have dominated most of the nearby clans, decimating their numbers, and who constantly harry their only regional rival - our own Great Otter Clan.

​We are comprised of a berserker, a barbarian, a huntsman, a ranger, twin sisters who each practice their own unique brand of shamanism, and an aged magician whose backstory explains how decades ago he was able as an outlander to supplant our tribal witch through cunning, experience, and a little duplicity and still find his place amongst the barbarians of the Savage Boreal Coast.

I'll keep a journal here for those of you interested in following the exploits of our crew as we face all sorts of AS&SHian horrors in our quest to thwart the Sharks and bring glory to the Great Otter clan.*

​* It should be noted that this journal may end abruptly as our GM has already proven himself to be...dangerously creative!

Last edited by Brule Spear-Slayer (1/09/2019 1:46 pm)


“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!” 
― Robert E. HowardKing Kull
www.skelospress.com
 

1/09/2019 3:23 pm  #2


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

What a great idea: we've done similar campaign set-ups before, and yours oozes awesome flavor. May the Sharks go down ignominiously!


"My own concepts in this regard are easy and clear, and I am sure that the word 'simplistic' will be used by my critics. These folk are callow and turgid of intellect; I am reassured by their howls and yelps."
Jack Vance, The Face
 

1/09/2019 6:34 pm  #3


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

Moved to the Campaign sub-forum. Happy gaming, Brule!

 

1/09/2019 9:39 pm  #4


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

Brule Spear-Slayer wrote:

My group is starting a new campaign this Friday

Always fun. I love that "new campaign" excitement, when all the options seem limitless.


Brule Spear-Slayer wrote:

(we ran character creation and setup the storyline with a mini adventure on day 1). We decided to try a different approach than has been customary in past campaigns. Rather than rolling up an individual character and then building whatever back story was desirable to the player we opted to pick a region, choose a race, tribe, etc. and weave a storyline that supported this accepted premise: we were going to be barbarians from the same tribe, albeit filling different character classes. The general idea was that the coming of age ceremony and subsequent tribal celebration would launch us on our grand campaign. The celebration is its own adventure but our GM crafted it in such a way that if we do survive its intial perils we will be presented with an opportunity, perhaps a cultural imperative, to continue our adventures, thus launching our grand campaign.

Sounds like a great idea, especially because it originated from the players.

Brule Spear-Slayer wrote:

As we all know, even celebrations can be dangerous in Hyperborea. We had two party members go down in the intro adventure but, with some lucky rolls and timely healing, they survived - barely!

Love it!

Brule Spear-Slayer wrote:

​I'll keep a journal here for those of you interested in following the exploits of our crew as we face all sorts of AS&SHian horrors in our quest to thwart the Sharks and bring glory to the Great Otter clan.*

​* It should be noted that this journal may end abruptly as our GM has already proven himself to be...dangerously creative!

Looking forward to reading it. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

1/10/2019 12:26 pm  #5


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

DMPrata wrote:

Moved to the Campaign sub-forum. Happy gaming, Brule!

Sorry for dropping the conversation into the wrong bucket and thanks for moving it where it needs to go!
 


“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!” 
― Robert E. HowardKing Kull
www.skelospress.com
     Thread Starter
 

1/22/2019 10:28 pm  #6


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

This all looks very interesting!! I love the way you’ve weaved your party. I’m a big fan of homogeny- having all the characters come from the same place and know each other makes things simple, and it also looks cool.

 

4/13/2019 6:16 pm  #7


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

I've been remiss in recounting our ongoing campaign. Below I will attempt to catch up to where we are today without writing a novel.

To those who thought a campaign such as ours would be interesting - you don't know the half of it! To those of you who thought - like me - that after a few sessions we'd be re-rolling PCs at a fevered pitch ... amazingly, no one has died. That is not to say we haven't had more than our fair share of close calls. In fact Every. Single. Session. But, I digress. I will summarize our adventures below, by session, as best my memory can recall.

Session #2: The adventure/campaign officially begins with our tribe of Half-Picts, the Giant Otter Clan, in the midst of a week long tribal celebration of spring. The celebration is marked by three religious trials the outcome of each is superstitiously believed to affect the long term prosperity (or lack thereof) of the tribe. Our PCs participated in a series of annual coming of age trials for young members of the clan which consists of tests of strength, agility, and weapons play before culminating in a special hunt. Special hunting parties were formed each intent on felling a creature deemed by the clan elders to be the most fearsome and worthy of sacrifice to their god Dobhran, the Great Otter.

Our PCs entered various competitions and fared extremely well with Jornak (the berserker) winning three of four competitions of strength and Verica (ranger) and her mentally challenged twin brother Calgaros (huntsmen) winning three competitions of speed and agility between them. The elderly mage, Mako, won his own tribal songs competition (yes, he got up in front of our group and chanted a quite long and impressive war chant). The group was honored by the elder warriors for their strong showing in the games. All that was left was to hunt down an animal worthy of Dobhran for the final feast day.

Our group headed into the wilderness surrounding our coastal village in search of a great white male ram. Everyone was focused on this one task and nearly failed to fend off a pack of devil dogs that seemed to appear out of nowhere. The devil dogs were large and aggressive and caused the group much pain and suffering before finally destroying the creatures. Little was known of these beasts and most alarmingly no one in the party had ever encountered one before. A discussion was had to determine if the PCs should carry on or investigate the arrival of this new and dangerous beast. It was quickly decided that the arrival of devil dogs posed a significant threat to the clan and discovering as much as could be discerned about them was more important than the shower of accolades sure to be earned by bringing back the ram. So, Calgaros and Verica were asked to begin tracking the devil dogs to determine where they had come from. A trail was found and the party, haggard and injured though they were, quickly formed up and advanced in the direction from which the creatures had come.

This direction soon led them to the fringes of the Spider Clan territory. Despite relative peace between the two clans - the Spiders were after all enemies of those bastards of the Great White Shark clan - the group advanced with caution as lasting peace between clans was not something one bet his life upon. Calgaros and Verica became nervous the further the party advanced into Spider territory as they had met no challenges to their intrusion. In fact, it appeared that there were no Spiders at all. as the day wore on they finally came to a known trading post maintained by the Spiders and there found the ragged remnants of the Spider clan. Huddled around fires, dispirited, injured, and utterly without hope they relayed to the group what had befell them. Was it the Great White Shark clan, the party asked? No, it was worse...hordes of demon dogs roaming the approaches to the great Spiral Array in ever increasing numbers. They had killed everything they encountered and driven the remnants of the Spiders far to the south. It seemed to the Spider leader that the large dogs were being guided...end session 2.


“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!” 
― Robert E. HowardKing Kull
www.skelospress.com
     Thread Starter
 

4/13/2019 7:50 pm  #8


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

Sounds good!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

5/10/2019 5:19 pm  #9


Re: Starting a New Campaign: Chapter 1 - Rites of Passage

Session #3: A Witch by any Other Name
After much deliberation our party decided to offer what food and drink we could spare to the homeless Spiders and continue on in search of the devil/demon dogs in order to determine their central location and perhaps glean some idea on how to stop them. Calgaros and Verica scouted a trail that led us to a small, walled village of the Spiders. A quick scout of the village perimeter revealed corpses strewn everywhere but many of the corpses showed no obvious signs of abuse, at least none that might have caused death. A quick debate over whether we should enter the village or give it a wide berth and continue on into the mountains where the tracks we were following were coming from.

Jornak was adamantly opposed to entering the village as he feared pestilence as a natural cause of the villagers demise. However, the rest of the party decided to enter the village and Jornak agreed to keep watch at the north entrance while they explored the village interior. It was here in the central plaza that they found an old, blind, woman bound to a stake driven deep into the ground and muttering to herself. Jornak couldn't believe the stupidity he feared had gripped his companions as they began to question her. Their probing questions were answered in a fashion but details seemed to be few and far between. She admitted to being a witch but denied having taken any part in the destruction of the village nor the death of the villagers. She described to our twin witches the last things she saw, "Huge wolf like dogs controlled by something in the air. Can you not hear it? Sisters, can you not feel the pulse of its malign urging?"

Indeed, Kotake and her twin sister Koume, young shamans in their own right had begun to feel a pulsing that seemed to suggest a powerful entity calling to them. Upon hearing the old hag's question they admitted to the party that they too felt the calling and felt compelled to seek its source. They and the hag felt certain that the source of the demon/devil dogs might be tied to the beckoning emanations and convinced the party to follow it to its source. Much to Jornak's chagrin the old hag was asked if she would accompany the party as the twins felt she might know more than she was sharing and thus yet prove useful if things went astray. The group agreed with the twins.

The group abandoned the original trail they had been following and headed further into the inhospitable lower reaches of the Spiral Array. Twice they encountered the horrible beasts but working together and with some familiarity of the beasts tendencies they were able to make short work of them. It was apparent however that their numbers seemed to be increasing the higher into the mountains they went. It was but two days traveling in the lower reaches of the Spiral Array when the twins abruptly announced a definite change in their direction of travel. They insisted the source of the emanations was very near and the lure of its call was overwhelming. It was not long thereafter that they found the cave opening; an icy footpath, despoiled by countless paw prints, wound its way up and into the mountain. The twins and the hag were almost overcome by the intensity of the emanations which boomed audibly enough now that even the least magically sensitive of the party could feel it in their bones.

Upon entering the cave the path immediately began a steep, icy, decent which almost sent two of our party plummeting into the unknown depths. We made our way deeper into the bowels of the cave and were almost immediately set upon by another group of demon/devil dogs. With Jornak in the vanguard the creatures were disposed of quickly but not noiselessly. After we stepped over the dead beasts and descended even further an ominous, deep growling could be heard which only grew in intensity as we neared a fork in the tunnel. To either side of our party was an extension of the tunnel we were in while directly in front of us was a large door whose face was heavily barred. The door itself was a rickety affair composed of many planks of thick wood hastily bound together with large gaps that revealed a huge shadowy bulk passing back and forth as if pacing. The group paused long enough to determine if they should open the door or continue along one of the tunnels. The twins were adamant that the source of the eerie emanations was not coming from the room in front of us. The growls became so deep and menacing that our decision came rather easily and so we quietly made our way down the left hand tunnel.

Our party came into a small room which looked suspiciously like an ill kept barracks. Small piles of refuse covered the floor and of course we rooted around. We found what appeared to be a nest with large red egg-like spheres and a careful investigation also revealed a small corridor hewn directly into the rock that meandered into the darkness. The twins were nearly uncontrollable, intensely desiring to enter the corridor as they were sure that's where the emanations were coming from. Calgaros was sent to investigate the tunnel outside the room which was an extension of the first. It wasn't long before he hot-footed it back to the party. He said that the tunnel circled around to the main entrance tunnel where the big creature paced angrily in the barred room. He stealthily approached the door to try and see through the spaces between the planks at what lay behind the door. Apparently he was not stealthy enough as it smelled him and began ramming itself against the barrier in a frenzied attempt to reach him.

As he burst into the barracks room Mako the mage asked Jornak to strike one of the red globes. He did so and to everyone's surprise the egg like sphere burst apart showering everyone and indeed everything in the room in what was undoubtedly blood. Jornak swore in annoyance and began to wipe himself clean while the rest argued over what it might be and what they should do next. While they argued Verica and Jornak explored the side corridor and found that it led to a rounded room. A large bloodstained alter, surrounded  by black candles and what looked to be some kind of stone receptacle, dominated the small room. On the wall furthest from the corridor was a huge mirror whose surface roiled and billowed like smoke. No image could be seen but from it came what could only be described as sniffing sound. Two dead shamans lay upon the floor, breastbones ripped open to reveal a gaping hole where their hearts should be and behind them a pile of corpses which looked like little more than flaccid or deflated wine skins. A book bound in some kind of skin was clutched in the death grip of one of the shamans. As the two turned to go back and tell the others what they had found the mirror began to pulse excitedly and a whining snuffle could be heard coming from the mirror.

Last edited by Brule Spear-Slayer (5/10/2019 5:27 pm)


“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!” 
― Robert E. HowardKing Kull
www.skelospress.com
     Thread Starter
 

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