Sunday, June 18, 2023

Arath Session 5

Session 4 had ended on something of a cliffhanger. I presume that if this was a TV series, I would have found some way to have that be the end of season 1. Feels a bit early for an end to season 1, but maybe the end of the penultimate episode? Anyway, it felt sort of final. Until it wasn’t.
I reviewed my notes, and the best (most logical) place to have an intervention is via the lone pilgrim Arath encountered on his first day. He met the dude, listened to his story, gave him actual, useful advice, gave him some food and water, and sent him on his way without trying to kill him. In this desert, that’s enough to earn you a gold star for good person-ness. That’s especially true if that wanderer just happened to be the Avatar of Ubek. That would be kind of a big deal, right?
My dice agree. I roll a 2. Huge sigh of relief. Okay, I have a thought about Ubek’s Avatar having a magical tent relic thing. Let’s see if the dice like that idea. The dice think my ideas are crap. Okay, dice, do you want me to think smaller than that? Yeah. Much smaller. Much, much smaller.
I had some big plans for that tent, too.
My backup plan gets a natural 1, so here it is. Arath awakes in the morning inside of a tent (yes, it’s the tent of Ubek, but he’s not giving it away). He feels refreshed and restored and all sorts of warm fuzzies. The stranger pulls an Obi Wan Kenobi meeting Luke Skywalker. He reveals that he’s actually the avatar of Ubek, and that few good souls travel this way. He is the demigod of those who are lost. He gives three items to Arath to help him on his way…
·       An everburning torch. This emits ‘bright light’, which would force shadelings coming within 30’ of it to suffer -1 edge. This will be a big deal in the desert.
·       Boots of traveling. These allow full standard move even in difficult or harsh environments. They also grant +1 edge to any checks to endure the elements or physical hardship from the environment.
·       A decanter of fresh water. This provides enough water for up to 4 people per day. It also can act as a potion of healing twice per day.
Finally, I decide that Ubek asks Arath if he wants to join his order, the Chosen of Ubek. Arath, who has just been saved by the dude, feels like this is sort of a good idea. Ubek touches his forehead and leaves a tattoo there, signifying that that he has had an encounter with the Wanderer. In the morning, Arath steps out of the tent, turns around, and it is gone. Ubek is again lost in the desert somewhere.
Day 2 begins at the eastern edge of hex F18, due south of the Shadowed Obelisk by just shy of 20 miles. It is likely that he’d be able to see that from here; yeah. Rolled an 8. There is a little bit of wind between here and there which obscures the view, but he can see the Obelisk in the distance. It’s a half mile tall, so it stands out. See what I did there?
Ahem. There is no encounter in this hex at all, and with his boots he can now hoof it through 3 hexes a day. About 4 hours a hex, rest for an hour, 4 hours, rest and hour, 4 hours. Night time. That seems like a good plan.
Moving into Hex F17 at about noon, Arath has an encounter. It is a landmark of some kind. Turns out that it is a ruin. It is a ruined watchtower, but it has no underground tunnels. It is not inhabited. There are no clear markings of anyone or anything that has been here recently. The upper floor is collapsed, so it is hollow inside with large holes in the walls. It would be a good place to spend the night, since the torchlight would fill the interior and he could control access points, but since it is only mid afternoon, there’s no point in staying here. He checks around one more time to see if someone left something hidden. Nah. He moves on. There is nothing else of interest in this hex, so he pauses for water and food at the edge of Hex E16.
Entering E16, he comes across a statue with water pouring from its mouth. Yeah. That’s weird. The statue is of a dragon, and it faces directly away from the Shadowed Obelisk. Weirder and weirder. It might be directly towards the Ruined Temple of Aluh Tehar. There is almost no good reason for Arath to mess with this, and lots of good reasons to avoid it. I mean, if he was thirsty, this might be worth gambling on. As is, he’s got basically unlimited water and a good amount of healing, so the potential benefits he already enjoys, and the potential dangers are pretty considerable from drinking this. The water pours into a hole in the sand, and disappears. He considers dropping his only coin in here for good luck, but then decides not to. Again, more harm than good options seem to be present. I have no idea if this was for good or ill, and I’m not going to gamble. Moving on, there is nothing else in this hex. In late afternoon, he reaches the edge of this hex and rests for a bit, drinking water and eating some of his rations.
Entering E15, he over halfway to the oasis. As he sets out, a major sandstorm sweeps in. He decides to hunker down and wait it out. He covers himself in his cloak and keeps his sword at the ready. The storm lingers – it lasts for ten hours, but is not particularly overwhelming. He is able to rest, but it is dusk when the storm breaks. He decides to travel a bit at night… although there is a chance that he gets lost at night. Hmmm. That is not worth the risk. He needs the physical landmarks of the mountains to make sure he stays on track. At night, odds of getting turned around even a little bit are pretty good. He’s lost a half day of travel here, but accepts it. He gets his everburning torch going. There is only a 1 in 12 chance each hour of the night that shadelings enter within 20’.
10 pm. No
11 pm. No
12 pm. No
1 am. No
2 am. Almost but no (rolled a 2)
3 am. No.
4 am. Yes. The Shadelings finally get frustrated that there’s a tasty human RIGHT THERE and they haven’t attacked. They go for it. There are four of them who finally charge Arath and attack. Arath wins initiative and goes first. He destroys one. The other three attack, but all miss (they are attacking at -1 edge, so odds of hitting are pretty low).
Round 2: Arath misses, but uses luck and hits, destroying a second. The two remaining both miss with all of their attacks.
Round 3: Arath misses. Drat. The two shadelings miss too.
Round 4: Arath keeps whiffing. So do the shadelings.
Round 5: Arath destroys one; the final one misses.\
Round 6: Arath destroys the last one.
5 am. Nope. The others got the message.
Morning! It’s day 3. He’s still at the eastern edge of E15. He’s 24 miles from the Oasis… if he pushes through all day, he can hit the edge of it by nightfall. That might be best. He’s got enough water and food to sustain him, and his boots make it feasible to travel 3 miles per hour without being overwhelmed. Even at 2 miles per hour, he can get there in 12 hours if he is not interrupted. He’s going to try…
E15. There’s an encounter a little over two miles into the hex. Arath finds a cave leading into the side of a sand dune. Oh gosh. He’s kind of trying to get across the desert, but then again the whole point of this is to explore and turn over rocks to see what’s under them. It’s a cave. Must… explore. Okay. He goes in.
We’ll call that the end of session 5. Exploring the cave can be session 6.

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