(Excerpt from ‘Oddities of the Western Frontier, a study of ruins’)
The Aguja de Plata was first explored by a group of young people on their Vieje, their transition journey into adulthood. A practice peculiar to the County of Rosaroca. They were given their destination by the Vizier Ronaldo, who saw that there would be a vial of quicksilver in a specific location in the ruins.
The destination was a singular whole building among the ruins surrounding the tower. In the basement of that building they would find a room with the precious material, used in many spells.
The group left as normal, walked 3 days into the wilderness, coming across large snakes and wild boars before arriving at the ruins. The day they were to explore and locate the building there was a torrential rain storm, darkening the skies, and limiting visibility.
Due to this, and the impetuous young dwarf warrior leading the group, they did not see a pit covered by undergrowth until the dwarf fell through. This disturbance brought a pack of ravenous giant rats. The young warriors were able to overcome the rats, despite their inexperience. And pulled the dwarf out of the pit, marching on into the rain.
They were luckily led by one trained by rangers, who was able to keep them on a good course through the rain and mist, until they found the building they were seeking. They searched in the building and found a door leading into the basement. Once again the impetuous dwarf led the way into the dark underground. Only to be surprised and taken down by the attack of a giant spider, making the basement a lair.
The young rangers were able to wound the spider, enough for the gnome lass with them to help the dwarf regain his feet, and deal great damage to the spider himself. Eventually the arrows of the rangers laid the spider low. While the group managed to light a torch so they could better search the room another spider, the first one’s mate, crept in. But this one was no more a match for the company than it’s deceased mate.
Searching the room they found the vial of quicksilver behind a glass case. Once again the dwarf, in his zeal to show his prowess, acted first, smashing the glass. Which triggered a trap,sending a dart into his throat, laying him low. One of the rangers carried the dwarf from the room as the group returned to the surface.
Only to find that the ruins were now blanketed in a heavy fog. And the sounds of voices from around them began to play tricks. Which allowed the company to be surprised by a group of skeletal warriors. In the ensuing fight the gnome lass proved to be a deadlier warrior than the other supposed, helping defeat the last skeleton.
Exiting the ruins they found that the fog ended at the border of the buildings, a strange phenomenon indeed. They camped and recuperated, and returned to the town after a brief interruption by some bandits. And made their report to the Marquis.
The Vizier was happy to get his supplies, but the Count’s Council was concerned with the report. The reports of skeletal warriors, and strange weather phenomena especially worried Father Barraca, as no one knew enough about the ruins, and now it seemed like it could be a source of attack by the forces of the Undead. Clearly more exploration of the area was needed.
We did the remainder of the first arc yesterday. By the end the boys knew far more about their characters, what they could and could not do. They all did a good job of doing more than just roll playing. From one boy refusing to help another because their characters did not like each other, to the one player rushing in headfirst on every encounter, regardless of the consequences.
I unveiled a new set up for the gaming room. I want to be more free form in the use of miniatures for battles etc. So I cleared the pool table, laid out my terrain cloth from Warhammer, and when necessary some of my old scenery from the terrain box. I think it made it feel better, and a little less tactical and rigid. I liked the set up.
The game went well overall. I got them away from the ‘fight a battle, rest, then move on’ mind set. Were the battles a challenge for them? Most definitely, and I had to fudge a few rolls here and there. But it had a much better feel and flow to it than we had before. I think that between my gaining a better understanding of the game, and how the difficulties and challenges work, and the boys getting more experienced, it promises to be a much better game.