Friday, 20 May 2011

Tarl & Grudge: Part 2 - the story continues.

Having gone through various character sheets, maps and other past related rpg 'stuff', it would appear that my memory has been sorely affected by the passage (and ravages) of time.

The scenario concerning Tarl the Mystic and his stalwart companion and thug, Grudge the Barbarian, would appear to have included several or more NPCs.  I also uncovered a note delivered to Tarl and Grudge by  Seth's nephew.  This I had written on blotting-type paper and sealed with wax, then handed it over during the game session.  A scanned image of the letter is below, and for the sake of squinting, I have typed out the full content of said message.


Copyright © 2011 Mark Kelly.

It reads:
"Tarl my boy!  Just a word of warning, your companion Gelt or Gerilt - anyway, has been seen talking to messengers of the Shadow Lords - nasty bunch, don't tangle with them - also there have been sightings of the Shadow Lords' elite in your area, they're known as Dark Servants - just as nasty!
Thought you ought  to know these things.  The young man stood before you is my nephew Karl - a good lad & trustworthy (I'm teaching him how to throw, shows promise!).
Anyway, if you'd be so kind as to give him a couple of pennies and send him on his way I'd be grateful.

My darling wife Etna sends her love and would like to know when you'll be back to stay?
Tell your barbarian friend that Silver is recovering well and sends her love and can't wait to see him again.
Once read, destroy this note, can't be too careful - strange folk abroad, say no more!
Look after yourself son, give your friends my best wishes and that Ger-character a stab in the heart, but be careful and watch him closely.
Don't stay away too long, see you sometime soon, your friend,

*squiggled signature* a.k.a. Seth"

So, as you can tell, they have 'people' with them, something I had completely forgotten.  As to who or what 'Silver' is, I'm currently at a loss?  One of two things, female companion or animal/pet.  More research is in order.

I do know that there were two male NPCs with them going by the names of 'Khord' and 'Borran'.
Their mini profiles read thus:

Khord, also known as 'Gardash'
Male, 5' 9", green eyes, dark brown hair (braided pony tail), age 35 yrs, fighter/mercenary.
Personality: Intolerant towards fools and bigots, always for the underdog.  Loves the ladies.  Always polite until angered, then strikes without warning.  Kalorian, born in Yettow.
Equipped: Bastard sword, hand axe, dagger & wears chain mail.

Male, 5' 11", brown eyes, brown hair, age 34 yrs, fighter/mercenary.
Personality: Borran is a mute and is very straight-faced, thus giving no indication as to his feelings.  He is totally loyal to Khord, but is still very much his own person.  Very good with animals.  Cruelty to children and animals is guaranteed a violent response. Kalorian, born in Yettow.
Equipped: Two-handed sword, Long sword, dagger & wears scale mail.

(Kaloria and Yettow are part of the game world I created to set my campaign within, which  I will discuss at a later date)

I do remember having great pleasure in playing these two fighters.  They were great fun to act out, and even more so as Neil - who will be referred to by his nickname, 'Cat' from here-on-in -  and Steven really took a shine to them, welcoming them as part of the 'gang'.

In the note was a mention of 'Gelt' - this NPC turned out to be a spy operating in the area for the Shadow Lords, sent out to investigate reports of resistance by the local populace.  Having 'stumbled' across Tarl & Co and convincing them to allow him to join, Gelt travelled with Tarl, Grudge and friends gaining their confidence, protection and information.

He was, in brief, a sneaky bastard.  I disliked him, even as a DM, and I had created him.  I think this was mainly due to the fact that in those early days of Dragon Warriors, I was to a greater degree, the third player at the table - something I lost with the inclusion of more players to our games.  Also, in the early days, players were more accepting and trusting of me as a DM - not sure what that says about the later games, but it certainly felt at times that my players often felt it was them against me, the 'evil DM'.

In an earlier posting I entitled it 'Revenge - A Powerful Driving Force', this would prove true, as after a few weeks of Tarl and Grudge (plus friends) visiting the farm, strengthening the bonds of friendship with Seth and Etna, which would eventually spill over into them becoming akin to adopted sons, and their activities in stemming raids by the Shadow Lords' minions, their whole world would be turned upside-down on one fateful day.

They return to find the farm burning.  Seth and Etna slaughtered, along with what little livestock they owned.  I made it abundantly clear that Seth had fought to the death in trying to protect his beloved Etna, but to no avail, and that their deaths - especially Seth's - were brutal and cruel.

What happened next I was totally unprepared for; Cat stared at his sheet, jaw clenching and unclenching, fists bunched.  He then stood up and said, 'I'm going for a fag (cigarette to our US cousins),' and left the room.  Steven sat in silence, shaking his head.
The force of what I had described was such that both players, especially Cat, felt physically shocked, and moments later, angered.

Cat returned to the room, face like thunder.  But to give him his credit, he kept it focused and in character.  Together, along with the help of Khord, Borran and Gelt, they buried Seth and Etna together.
Now came the second surprise of the evening's session: acting on Seth's previous message concerning his suspicions regarding Gelt, Tarl instructed the others to hold him fast.

Much to Gelt's horror, his fellow party members secured him swiftly and without hesitation.  Tarl made a feeble attempt at interrogating Gelt. I only say this as the questioning seemed a formality leading to his execution - which Cat took grim satisfaction in doing with Tarl's dagger as the weapon of choice.

Cat made it quite clear he didn't want Gelt to die swiftly, and as it turns out, this acted in the party's favour with Gelt screaming out curses and threats of bloody vengeance from his masters, the Shadow Lords.  This culminated with a savage slash across the spy's throat.  His body was then left spread eagled on the dirt road as the farm continued to burn.

And so, with Seth and Etna now buried, Tarl, Grudge, Khord and Borran are set on a path of revenge against the Shadow Lords.

The game was now getting very, very interesting indeed.

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