Daruna - Session One


Play the weekend of November 4th-6th, 2011


Friday Night - The Tournament of the Sun Festival

The party began the night with several fights in the first round of the tournament, both as solo combatants and as partners. Everyone won at least one match, enough to advance to round two. During their downtime, the party did some browsing through the shops and booths set up along the Rim Road, encountering Sadine Salar (the Extraordinary!), a merchant with an impressive collection of oddities and unusual merchandise. The trio made a positive impression on Sadine, and purchased a fine Kogani blade and a number of healing potions made by the Aquaan.

Round two of the tournament proved to be more challenging. All the party members managed to qualify for the third round, but took some serious hits in the process, including getting their butts handed to them at least once. As the second round progressed it became clear that Vikus and his crew were going to be in the third round. A man down, the party decided to try an enlist Pushta, a militia man who had teamed with Orca in the first round. He agreed to join the group as the fourth member of their team, and the foursome entered a final second round fight to try and work out tactics and earn an extra victory to qualify everyone for their bronze militia badge. It was not to be. Pushta took a serious wound while engaging a strong combatant from the other team, and went down hard. Orca, the sole remaining combatant, yielded the match to insure his team mate received medical attention immediately. Good thing since Pushta nearly died from the blow received.

The party ended up with a random pick from the pool of qualified combatants for the third round, but that wasn't the only unusual event surrounding the match. A man approached Ramone about throwing the match to insure a team of relative unknowns won. Ramone agreed to discuss the proposal with his friends, and the team eventually accepted the bribe. Meanwhile Orca and Lister had arranged an informal alliance with Tarya, the leader of the other team, to take out Vikus and friends first.

The final match was pretty much a blowout. The party went after Vikus and friends hard, while the unknowns and Tarya's team faced off. Unfortunately one of Tarya's teammates chucked a spear at Lister and powerful Lat, flanked by Vikus and Rakya, sliced through Ramone and Lister while Sudha and Orca exchanged taunts and thrown weapons. The team's pick up fourth man fared no better than the others, and after Tarya and the unknowns pummeled each other, Lat and Vikus took out the trash. Orca and Sudha finally came to blows, with Sudha getting the better end of the deal.

Though the party lost the final battle, they managed to make some money from the bribe they took, since they did their job by not engaging the unknown team. They failed to win or earn their badges, but they did well enough that they impressed at least a few members of the crowd. Rich members...

Saturday Morning - The Quarry Trip

After completing their militia duty for the spring season, the party found themselves at loose ends. After kicking around a couple of days, they were approached by Keela Shotan, an agent of the powerful Zulat family, with a proposal. The Zulats had a quarry on the eastern edge of Shalish territory, and several huntsmen and fishermen employed to keep the quarry workers fed had vanished under mysterious circumstances. Keela had seen several of the party fight in the tournament and had been reasonably impressed with their performance. He wanted the group to travel to the quarry, find what was responsible for the disappearances, and put an end to it. The party agreed, and in short order they were traveling east with Blutark, one of the quarry foremen.

On the trip out they picked up a bit more information about the situation. There were signs of a struggle where several of the men had vanished, as well as blood stains. Blutark had investigated several disappearances himself, but seemed happy to hand over further investigation to someone else. A chance bit of chatter with a serving girl at a tavern revealed there was a party of surveyors, also hired by the Zulat family, mapping the area north-east of the quarry. A couple of the quarry hunters had hired on with them as guides. The party also noticed an interesting bit of bronze worn by Blutark as an amulet. He found it in a gravel bank along the river. Orca determined it was of the Lost Kingdoms, perhaps a seal or marker of some kind.

When they arrived at the quarry they discovered almost immediately that the workers were near revolt. There'd been another disappearance, and the other foreman hadn't handled things well. One of the workers, Dunatra, scoffed at the party's ability to resolve the issue. They offered to let him come along as guide and witness. Surprisingly he agreed. The party later found out Dunatra's cousin Tripur was one of the guides out with the surveyors.

The party traveled to the site of the recent attack along the banks of a river that eventually wound down to the Tana River. It seemed clear they were dealing with some sort of large predator, possibly something aquatic, so they started following the river upstream into the Twisted Lands. They spent two days traveling upstream. Along the way they were attacked by a strangely altered human wearing a slave collar of the Zulats. His skin had turned blue and patches of black fur covered him. They also found the scene of a fight on the edge of a swampy area. Unfortunately the trails leading away were untraceable.

The party continued upstream, following the main river course. After a few side trips, including an investigation of a fight scene near a large marshy area, they stumbled, literally, over the cause of their woes, a monstrous crocodile-thing with far too many legs. A brisk fight ensued, with Torin taking the brunt of the damage, but the creature was dispatched without serious harm to the party. They skinned the beast, hacked off its head, and plucked out teeth and one of its eyes as trophies. Examination of the creature's stomach contents revealed it had been responsible for at least a couple of human deaths.

With the basic problem solved the question became: what created this monster? It was clearly an unnatural beast. The party was also concerned about the surveyor party, especially since Dunatra had proven stalwart and fearless in the face of the beast. The party decided to head back to the quarry with proof of the creature's death, and then return to the river to seek the source of whatever affected the beast.

Saturday Afternoon - Deeper into the Forest

With the remains of the croc-beast safely returned to the quarry and a local tanner working on the hide the party returned to the river in hopes of finding whatever had altered the beast and the surveyor's slave. This time the group went south around the marsh and found another fight site, this time with corpse. It seemed the surveyor party was mostly dead. Shortly after finding the corpse the party discovered why, as they were attacked by a swarm of giant altered mosquitoes. After a brief fight, where Dunatra once again proved himself, they rested for a short while, then continued upstream.

After a few abortive side trips up various tributaries of the main unnamed river, the party discovered a faint trace of blue in the water. Following this clue they continued up the main river, eventually discovering a Lost Kingdom marker along the river's edge. Beyond the marker they realized the cliff running along the river (now stream really), was actually a wall. A bit further on they discovered the source of the blue water, a crevice in the wall.

Careful scouting revealed the foundation was actually the base of a buried tower. The party retreated a short distance and set up a camp, then continue to search, eventually uncovering a cave leading into the hillside toward the buried ruin. Exploration led to the den of a monstrous hyena mother, who fought fiercely to defend her cubs, sending Lister running in panic through the woods with a magical howl of fear. Torin took grievous damage, but eventually the party prevailed, quickly dispatching the few remaining cubs, then retreating with their wounded comrades to rest and recover.

The next day the group re-entered the cave and explored the complex beyond, which consisted of four or five ruined chambers. They discovered several fine silver candelabra and a large bronze bell inscribed with Lost Kingdom pictographs. They also found a large pillared chamber filled with blue-stained water, fed by a trickling stream from the far end.

After a bit of labor the party built a raft to traverse the pool without touching the water. On the far side they discovered a chamber guarded by a magical golem and two enchanted clockwork devices that fired bolts. They defeated these guardians with clever tactics, and pushed forward into a small vault. There were several chests tucked away in this chamber, along with several unique items, including a small baseless chalice atop a stone pedestal, a stream of brilliant blue liquid dripping out of it into the trickling waters below. The party righted the vessel, which slowly filled to three-quarters full then stopped. Lister's magical sense told him this device was extremely potent, no doubt an artifact of the Lost Kingdom. After long debate the party decided to leave the device behind, having no way to safely carry it. They did take everything else they found, including a war pick fashioned from a hippo's tusk and a curious large helm.

After a quick trip back to the quarry and a day's rest the party decided to return to the jungle, using a bit of map recovered from the strange human they fought on their first trip as guidance. This led them to the remains of the surveyor's camp, the site of yet another fight. Ramone suggested building a large bonfire to draw in any survivor that might be lost in the woods. The idea worked, and a few hours later Dunatra's cousin stumbled out of the forest, half-dead and in shock. He told a tale of woe, men changing into odd creatures and his group scattered. He confirmed at least three of the surveyor's party were dead.

The party had little time to discuss this however, because the bonfire drew in other guests as well. A number of camp fires showed on the hills to the north and the party beat a hasty retreat to the quarry carrying a warning about a large group in the woods.

Sunday Morning - One More Time

With Dunatra's cousin safely returned to the quarry and their goods secured, the party agreed to scout the camp they saw the previous day. A quick trip into the woods put them atop a barren hill with a decent view of the site. They waited til nightfall, then Orca crept into camp. He quickly realized this was a raiding party, traveling under the banner of the Kingdom of Light. There were several other banners, a bleeding tree, a jaguar head, and a burning tower, that he didn't recognize, but he saw enough to be worried, the raiders numbered 80 or more. Discretion being the better part of valor, he beat a hasty retreat, only to stumble over a party of outriders. After a brief chase through the jungle he managed to shake pursuit and eventually meet up with his party.

With this news in hand the group headed back to the quarry. Blutark was worried about the raiders and determined that he needed to report the potential attack to his superiors in the city. The party traveled back with him, taking Dunatra and Tripur with them. The group had paid Dunatra a share of the reward for killing the crocolisk and he had used some of this to pay off Tripur's indenture. The pair had agreed to return to the city with the group (Dunatra enthusiastically, Tripur less so).

In town the group met with Keela and received a handsome bonus for slaying the crocolisk, determining the fate of the surveyors and reporting the encroaching raiders. It seemed clear some action was going to be taken regarding the raiders, but Keela was not forthcoming with information. The party expressed interest in further work, then spent a day visiting various sages and loremasters in hopes of finding out more about their new-found treasures.