Friday, 4 December 2020

PARIAH DISCORD SESSION 21: Are There Eagle-Witches Yet?

These events continue from the TWENTIETH session. The real world session took place on Saturday 28th November on the Atelier Hwei Discord. Today is the 4th December and this is my 4th blogpost this month, a partridge in a pear tree.

- jfur https://jenniferixon.itch.io/ playing as Fallen-far-from-the-Wind
- Mister Kent as Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake
- Oisín https://twitter.com/OisinoftheHill playing as Over-Hollow-Hills-Flies-the-Cuckoo
- Semiurge http://archonsmarchon.blogspot.com/ playing as Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen

Mercifully-Wasted-from-the-Tribe and Fleet Snailwife were NPCed.

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html 


DAY 23, HALF CROW MOON WANING

At first light Fleet Snailwife waded out into the river estuary from the sand bank with her coracle in front of her. She indicated for Mercifully Wasted and Garnish to do likewise with theirs. When the water was higher than her navel, she scrambled on board, inviting Cuckoo and Fallen to join her. A Coracle comfortably sits 2 people but Fleet and Cuckoo's light frames meant Fallen was not too cramped. Each coracle came with two broad-headed oars and while MW and Garnish were content to paddle away together on their coracle, Fleet would not allow the others to interfere with the piloting of her vessel.

It was no small task paddling across miles of ocean. At times going was rather slow, and Fleet instructed them to rest up, allowing the waves to carry them for a while. 

In may ways it was terrifying. the land receding into a thin strip, and before them the mountainous islands loomed from above the crashing waves.


The tide grew choppier as the islands — for it became apparent there were many more islands — came into view, but the pariahs spotted something else circling the island's highest point.

Eagles. Very big eagles.


Island of Birds

From their coracles the party could discern a large bay n the largest island that they could try to head towards. The stronger currents seemed to be pulling them towards the much smaller island to their immediate north. 

Instead they compromise and paddled another half mile around to land on a long stretch of beach upon an intermediary islet rising some 200ft above the sea.

They were watched from the shore by Beautiful Other-far-from-the-Lake, who revealed herself to the pariahs as soon as they made landfall. A slender woman somewhat dwarfed by the enormous two-handed bonesword she carried, the pariahs' caution quickly subsided when it became apparent she was stranded upon the island and was believed to be alone.

Made with https://www.artbreeder.com/

Fleet and Mercifully wasted lay down on the beach and caught their breath after the long boat trip. Cuckoo and Fallen ducked into the forest to do some exploring, and Garnish and Beautiful other did some fishing.

A First Nations person fishing in the land now known as Vancouver.

In Pariah fishing is usually associated with the WIS attribute, though especially dextrous pariahs might apply their DEX score to it. For foraging along the shore I asked Semiurge and Mister Kent to tell me what their technique was, then got them to roll some dice.

Ultimately the die roll is referenced against a crude table and I tell them what they find. After an hour scrambling over rocks, casting nets and jabbing with spears, they came up with about 3 rations worth of fish and other seafood, as well as a little bit of driftwood.

Going Exploring

Cuckoo and Fallen meanwhile headed up to the top the island to see what they could see. The island itself was densely vegetated but also a fairly steep rocky outcrop. They pick up a bit of fresh water here and there trickling down the sides of the slope, but nothing reliable.

From the peak more of the large island could be seen: the tip seemed to be home to seabirds. The large bay seemed to house a number of structures. A hint of firesmoke climbed into the sky from the smaller bay.

Close by to the lookout, Fallen found a clearing that would make a good campsite. They decided to forage for a water supply as they made their way back down the slope. Things to note: they didn't encounter any mammals during their journey down.

* The island is small- I wanted it to feel distinct and also a potential "safe haven", but I also didn't want to draw up a whole new encounter table, so I just used the encounter tables in the wilderness supplement I've been writing and when something came up that wasn't present on the island, I just counted it as a non-encounter. Not that there AREN'T dangerous creatures on the island...

Taking the Higher Ground

Taking their time on the descent, Fallen and Cuckoo came across a small waterfall from which they were able to fill their waterskins. The water was fresh and clean. It fell into a same stream which drained on to the western coast of the island. By the time they got back 2 hours had passed, enabling Garnish and Beautiful Other to procure more seafood. They had about six rations in total, and enough driftwood (mainly branches of fallen trees) for at least half a night's fire.

However, Fallen was adamant that they should camp out on the higher ground, and take their boats with them. They knew that their were inhabitants on the larger island, and they didn't know what their intentions were. They carried the coracles up the steep slope: Fleet grumbled, though she was not obliged to do any heavy lifting.

Once camp was set, chores were divvied up, with Garnish choosing to remain behind with Fleet and MW while he fashioned a ghillie suit from items in the undergrowth. Fallen, Cuckoo and Beautiful Other wanted to forage for bird eggs in the tree canopy.

MaCAW!

Scanning the tree canopy, they happened upon a large banyan-type tree with lots of aerial roots that looked fairly climbable, and atop they had spied a mated pair of macaws flying backFighting the macaw for eggs.

They were just normal macaws (well, chicken-sized fantasy macaws) but we all really liked this picture

None of the pariahs were particularly gifted at climbing but the tree looked easy enough and Fallen — being strong — stepped forward and hoisted herself up into the tree.

About ten feet into her climb Fallen-far-from-the-Wind became Fallen-Close-to-the-Tree. Still sore from her bruising encounter with the boar but one day before, she was rendered prone on the floor, winded and a little woozy.

* NB. At 0 HP pariahs are prone and susceptible to lethal damage. Moving or performing actions incurs damage to their CON, ultimately leading to death. *

For the second time in as many days Cuckoo reached out to inhabit the mind of an animal creature: the consequence was the creature resisting (miraculously rolling over the 18 required on its save), sending a terrifying squawk and alerting its mate. The second Macaw swooped dawn and scratched at the meditating figure of Cuckoo.

Beautiful Other drew her bone sword and cleaved in twain, the bisected halves of the animal falling to the ground with a dull thump just as Cuckoo returned to their own flesh.

This at least represented some compensation for the wounds they had incurred. They walked slowly back to camp, carrying the macaw carcass with them.

Night without Fire

It was decided that there would be no fire: the party prepared sashimi from the bounty of the sea, but the carcass of the macaw was saved for another day. Beautiful Other collected feathers while she prepared the carcass, placing the carcass in her sack. Garnish showed off his ghillie suit, camouflaging him impressively. After the ate, Cuckoo went to the lookout to scan the island.

Cuckoo saw three things of note:

  • Large vultures- 3 of them - taking off from the northernmost point of the island, at the point where the mainlanders had indicated the "eagle-witches" lived.
  • The large bay was DEFINITELY inhabited: a series of fires was lit in rapid succession following sunset.
  • There looked to be a single fire on the small beach just northwest of the bay.

The watch beneath the light of the half moon was uneventful... until just before dawn. A low buzzing resounded from the jungle, insect-like... but deeper. A flash of a red compound eye in the darkness. The pariahs awoke.

The sound was all about them. Fallen tuned into it and began to hum in harmony with the noise. As it undulated at oscillated she interjected, in a weird form of music which may have unsettled the others. 

In the gloaming light a large, 2' long yellow and black wasp or fly appeared. Glancing around the pariahs were aware of a greater number of giant flies hovering in the undergrowth.

One of the buzzing insects made a bee-line (ahem) for Beautiful Other's sack: with a mighty heave she managed to toss it over the edge of the lookout point. 

The flies followed it over and, convinced all was well, grabbed an hour's rest before dawn.


DAY 24, CROW MOON FINAL QUARTER

The pariahs blazed a new trail down to the northernmost tip of the beach at dawn, carrying the coracles with them. Beautiful Other made a point of passing where she thought the carcass would have landed, finding just a hint of the largest bones and the beak. The giant wasps had devoured it.

They boarded their boats and crossed the high seas. It was nearly a mile across a relatively rough ocean.

Landing at small beach, their were definite signs of a campfire, though not much else... excluding some tracks leading into the jungle. Curious, they elected to follow. 

Fallen-far-from-the-Wind had the trail and took point. Garnish lurked some way back, moving through cover in his ghillie suit.

Garnish's kids? Maybe?

The trail led them uphill, but between a cleft between two greater peaks. Around them the jungle was dense, comprising tall trees but also a pretty tangle understorey. However, the tracks did seem to fall along an established path- maybe a pig run?

fallen lost her bearings and had to stop to try and pick up the trail again. The remaining pariahs rested, only Garnish (hidden in his ghillie suit) catching sight of the figure stalking them... a person in a wooden mask carrying a spear, taking great care to walk carefully.

HJJ

Semiurge expressed his plan of attack: as swiftly as possible Garnish would leap from the undergrowth, clasp a big palm around the mysterious local's gob and wrestle them to the ground. Garnish had the advantage of both camouflage and surprise and impressive strength and grappling skill.

With a clear plan and the element of surprise, I ruled that Garnish would need to make a successful hit roll first, after which we'd resolve the grapple. The target would be flat footed and caught off-guard, so I let Garnish have advantage.

He missed.

The figure evaded Garnish' attack and was able to strike a critical blow against his camouflaged assailant.

The spearhead remained lodged in Garnish's skull, though he was conscious. He released a cry before hitting the deck. The party turned to see that they were faced by five spear-equipped figures in wooden masks.

"Are you here to take back your boy?"

* * *

The campaign continues at https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/12/pariah-etau-campaign-session-22-swims.html

Actual footage of Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen post spear attack.

Purchase digital print edition of PARIAH at Soulmuppet:

https://soulmuppet-store.co.uk/products/pariah-volume-1

Download the art-free edition of PARIAH for no charge at the following well-know digital RPG stores:

https://atelier-hwei.itch.io/pariah-art-free

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