Friday, 9 October 2020

PARIAH DISCORD SESSION 013: THE SETTLEMENT BY THE SEA

A summary of the THIRTEENTH session of the discord live voice-chat game of PARIAH. This is a continuation of events in the TWELFTH session. If you want to hear me ramble through this in podcast format, please click here https://anchor.fm/alonein-thelabyrinth/episodes/Episode-04-Last-Nights-PARIAH-session-ej71u2

To find out more about PARIAH please read this post https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/p/pariah-proto-neolithc-psychedelic.html or trawl through the many, many posts tagged pariah at this link https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/search/label/Pariah.

SESSION 13: DAY 15 GIBBOUS CROW MOON WAXING

(This session took place on Saturday 5th September)
Three players this week — Semiurge , Jen Furious and Alex — which suited us as two of the absent players (Eugene and BlueWolf) had characters which were  wounded (Eugene's character, Nervously-Rides-the-Grave critically so). Semiurge's character Witheringly-Footed-in-the-Point had suffered a horrific wound and was likewise incapacitated. Consequently Semiurge rolled up  a new character, Mortally-Garnished-of-the-Fallen (hereafter referred to as Garnish).

Garnish

As most sessions begin in the wilderness and the very premise of the game is that outcasts band together after banishment from their tribe, dropping new characters in is not particularly immersion breaking! In this case Garnish was spotted by Undecided-over-the-Yellow-One (UotYO) while fishing: a muscular if somewhat scruffy (and later it would transpire, smelly) hunter-gatherer.

Breakfast

Over breakfast the party (consisting of Garnish, UotYo and Little-is-the-Gazelle:
  • protect the wounded
  • take Etau's gift to the coastal settlement
  • find out about the ghouls (and whether "ghoulism" is contagious)
  • survive
To help accomplish these goals, Worm (the least wounded) was left to guard Rides and Wither.  UotYO was able to put together a charm using a circle of branches around them, then invoking her spell-bound spirit to create a magical illusion. 

The Beach is Unsafe

UotYO did not want to take her eyes off the young girl Maggot — a child of indeterminate age who seemed to be at least partially transformed by ghoulism. Indeed, such was her vulnerability to sunlight that Maggot had to be wrapped in a blanket and carried. This was especially tiring for UotYO, who had not yet received any sleep.

The beach also posed another threat: pit traps in the sand. These huge pits were covered with intricate lattices of bamboo and palm leaves, then disguised with a thin layer of sand: within, sharpened spikes had been placed at the bottom. There were multiple such pits, one of which contained a long-dead corpse. the party do not investigate any of these pits, and take a route south closer to the shoreline so as to avoid them.

The Settlement

The beach narrowed as they drew closer to the settlement, which appeared as a palisade of seasoned logs (much like Etau's stockade) extending from the fringe of the jungle to the shoreline. An additional structure had been erected, like a gatehouse, atop which two women and a man stood guard.

They agree to approach with open arms, and directly. as they approach a woman with a spear takes the lead in negotiating their entry, encouraging them to keep at a safe distance.

They discussed the ghouls along the beach, explained the harm that had been done to their comrades and asked for help. The spear-woman advised that they kill all those seriously wounded by the creatures (Gazelle kept silent though he had been previously felled by one such creature). They negotiated entry into the gatehouse after assurances were given that no harm would be brought to any of them. 

The outer palisade gate was raised and they entered. Upon examining Maggot, they confirmed that Maggot suffered from what they called the hunger, the curse of ghoulism. There was no chance for Maggot to enter, so UotYO took her into the jungle, away from the harsh rays of the sun.

Charismatic performer Gazelle and most uncharismatic "flexer" Garnish entered the settlement. 

Three features that stood out:
  • numerous small boats (like the coracle pictured above) were scattered around the settlement.
  • a mighty, tapering totem with symbols carved on the side (which none were able to read). It looked like a tree whose branches  had been removed.
  • an octagonal pergola, towards which they were being directed.

Meeting the Elders

In the octagonal pagoda, Gazelle and Garnish are surrounded by elders. Initially, they are aware of only four elders, each sitting at the cardinal points (from north through east south then west): 

  • a dark skinned woman of youthful appearance but with a globe of tightly coiled silver hair
  • an older woman with an owl and a bowl of fruit
  • an old man with an interest in technology who sounded something like Gazelle
  • a taciturn warrior type beneath a great round shield
Furthermore, they hear two unseen voices:
  • the gruff and morbid voice from below the split-bamboo floor...
  • the wacky and weird voice coming from the rafters above them
After a disorienting exchange, Garnish and Gazelle gleamed the following information:
  • the village accepted the offering of Etau's honey
  • a route back to Etau's settlement has been established through the jungle with the help of the giant ants
  • they are still concerned about the ghouls that plague them and their leader: the many-mouthed king
  • they do not believe their is a cure for the hunger
  • the solution is to travel to the land of the dead. 
  • The mysterious voice above promised that a way would be revealed to Gazelle "if you sleep beneath a starry sky tonight"
  • they were told to take their fish away, as the community had plenty, but that there was a pariah village in the jungle that might benefit from it.

Just One More Thing...

Garnish and Gazelle attempted to trade some items, though inadvertently lost many of their items to a woman who did not understand trade. Ultimately though they were able to wangle an ivory flute out of her, and after a masterful performance by Gazelle they were granted permission to borrow the woman's son's coracle.

Back in the Jungle

Throughout the duration of the visit, Maggot and UotYO had been making rope to pass the time and to stockpile for future use. After meeting with Garnish and Gazelle.

The pariahs were resistant to interrogation, but explained their relationship with the village and that some of them suffered from the hunger. However, they were accorded equitable status with other members of their tribe and had not been permitted to fully submit to the Lord of the Dead. 

The pariahs also realised that the route back through the jungle was just to overgrown and topographically challenging to drag their wounded friends through — the best solution would be to take them across the beach, back to the spirit-tree.

* * *

The next session took place on Saturday 12th September: a write-up has now been completed! Read session 14 at this link:

https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2020/10/pariah-discord-session-014-going-home.html

One final thing... like many discord games, we use a text channel to share information and images parallel to the live voice channel. At the moment Alex's character gazelle began to exhibit his prowess with wind instruments, a flurry of content flooded the channel, my own personal highlight being this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gha9xrM10w

...oh, please have a look at the art-free edition of PARIAH, yours to download for no charge at the following well-know digital RPG stores:

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

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