We missed a few weeks but it felt good to get back and see what is going on with these treasure-hunting weirdos.
SPOILERS for A Heart Hums in the Darkness ahead!
As if constructs weren’t odd and creepy enough, the treasure-hunters are being escorted into the mining town of Wellslode by constructs created by bees to understand (and possibly infiltrate?) humans.
As we started, I was feeling low energy. On those days, when we’ve missed a few sessions and I’m feeling groggy, I’m happy to have a game with structure. In Trophy Gold’s case, it is the incursion structure, giving me moments – bullet-points I can use right away rather than boxed text that I’m loathe to read. I am not a GM who lives in terror of not knowing what to say next but still, it is nice to have a life-preserver to grab onto when I’m getting back into the swing of a game.
I gave them some time to wander around the set a bit – a park set into a gorge near a waterfall feeding a water wheel. This group picks up consequences quickly and after a few Hunt rolls they had a grip on this place once the Mole-thing dug through the stone behind the waterfall and destroyed the water wheel. Introduced lamplight fungus, the snuff miners use to see better in the dark.
They helped young Orfuss get the bees-think-your-dead pheromone smell off him, coaching him from afar, not touching him. Orfuss, for whatever reason, was kind of a comic relief goofball, mentioning a bard’s story he had heard where a hero smeared himself with mud to avoid an otherworldly hunter’s strange vision. “Get to the carriage!” Too goofy? Maybe.
Kel said that the strange parroting that the bee-construct guards do reminded him of how his fey lords back in the Grove used to toy with kidnapped humans (good fuel that I’ll use later).
After I mentioned the buzzing a few times, Baso grabbed some honey off a corpse’s face, rolled it into a more solid ball and put it in his ears, hoping to block out any buzzing magic to come. He offered earplugs to his comrades but they weren’t sold on it. He found a lyre and had to climb up a goat path out of the gorge and take a long way down to avoid some bees. He held up a walking stick he found with a scrimshaw drawing of a skeleton parade on it, commanding the dead to rise and do his bidding.
Me to Jim, “We agree that this isn’t going to work, right?”
Pela gathered leaves and sticks and used his Enliven to give it life. The effigy, Baso’s high pitched singing and Kel’s quick movement got him away from the oncoming Mole-thing, that began eating corpses instead.
With Aksil cursing their strangeness, they went into the aqueduct from the hole the Mole-thing had carved.
Kel climbed up a building and got the lay of the land. There was good in and out of game banter about using or not-using their Hunt tokens to get by this Set but everyone knows the Queen looms in some future Set ahead of them and they don’t want to go into that low on tokens. Smart.
Taking stock, we realized that we had quite a crew gathered – the 3 player characters, Aksil, Orfuss, and the 2 bee-constructs – mirroring player words and gestures in the creepiest ways I could muster. There was some talk about Pela’s still-animated effigy; could he take away its animate magic? We decided it would take a Risk Roll to do so but for now, the 2-3 foot tall stick and mud-thing still waddles around.
How many creepy constructs can one group of treasure-hunters have in their posse?
As the game ended, Kel and Pela went to see what was going on in the warehouse with a mix of buzzing and sobbing coming from it. “Kel, it is the sobbing of someone who is captured and is losing hope of every getting away. You know this sound well…”
Baso struck out on his own, approaching the alchemist’s door. I wanted to hint at the crossbow bolt pressure plate trap and so I mentioned bloodstains on the doorstep. As Baso approached, he took a crossbow to the ribs as he knocked on the door, calling the alchemist’s name. Jim made it very clear that he was more than willing to pay the price of separating from the group.
We’ll start the next game with Kel and Pela trying to figure out how to save the humans being made to chew vegetable matter for the bees, guarded by a bee-shaped construct the size of a pony. Meanwhile, Baso will meet the Alchemist while contending with the new Condition – gutshot.
We need to name the Mole-thing and the pony-sized bee constructs.
Takeaways: Nice to be back at it. Looking forward to finishing this adventure next week.
Ready for Next Week: I’ll look over Roots of Old Kalduhr again and maybe, just maybe spring my strangest monster ever on the group as a kind of mini-incursion.
I might want to read up on conditions too; I often forget that rule exists.
Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons
This session was played via Zoom on 6/10/22