Amber: The Next Generation

Act 2, episode 13
An introduction to Golden Circle politics

“Now you’re thinking like an Amberite”

Zurehn awakes to an earthquake, everything is tilting sideways, and there’s plenty of running and screaming.
The evacuation plan amounts to “Captains and Children first”, but they are all peons; so Zurehn hijacks a car at shiv and gun-point.
He instructs the driver to go downhill, so he can investigate. Because he’s crazy but gets things fixed.
The driver, ‘Billy’, drives full speed downhill, pointing out that we’re below sea level, as in the distance the sea can be seen rushing in over cracked and ravaged ground.
With limited time, Zurehn releases his last teleport to bring the whole car back to Stoke.
The farmhouse kitchen, to be precise.
There are no chickens, but Farmer Bob gets covered in breakfast. “Stag Do?”
The farm is also tilting sideways and the roof is giving way, so Fiona is called in, and they helldrive out.
Billy and Bob are deposited in an Inn near Amber docks, with enough money to last a month if they can avoid being robbed or conned in the first day. Zurehn does put in a word with the innkeeper and promise to take them home, or somewhere like home.
Fiona brings Zurehn up to date on the situation over breakfast and lunch, and suggests books in the library for magic ideas.
Then she suggests he take a holiday and re-hang his spells.

If I should take a notion, to walk right into the ocean

Aron makes a trip to Rebma, to swim with the dolphins and talk to Llewella.
She confirms some of his suspicions about Benedict and the King
“Some powers skip a generation is a politeness… you are very much your father’s son”
and answered some questions about power rune tattoos (no, you can’t break this one and put it back together and expect it to work again)
At some point a shark shows up to watch, and Llewella sees it off… It seemed rude to ask which family member it was.
After a day or two, Aron returned to the surface and head out toward Arden.

Prussian blues

Zurehn’s idea of a holiday is to go drinking with Random.
Fortunately, he’s still in a beer-hall with Phil’s Prussians.
Singing and fun is interrupted when Random received a trump call from Mireille in chains
Something’s happening in Begma that he needs to look into.
(Obviously a trap. But with his sister hostage, there’s no choice.)
They trump through to Julian in Arden because it’s closer to the golden circle.

Jewels in Begma

On arrival, we visit a salon to find out what’s happening.
Random has brandy and cigars with the bankers who carry jewelled rapiers, learning of visitors that come and go from the palace but aren’t seen to stay anywhere in the city.
Aron is sent for emergency tailoring – ruffled shirts were last years fashion, but a disaster now. Apparently the fashion was started to cover a mark on the neck of somebody at the palace, and now open necks are the fashion to show you are not a criminal.
Zurehn gambles with the “bodyguards” in the salon, and makes the acquaintance of Porthos.
Porthos offers to get us into the palace, “adventure awaits in the night”.

Duels in Begma

“Duelling is banned in the city, so we’ll make this quick”
Our path is blocked by four bravos looking for a fight.
Four of them, four of us, so one on one fights.
Random seemed to struggle a bit, perhaps his mind is on other things, or the broken ankle wasn’t quite recovered yet. Nevertheless, he is the first to draw blood and his opponent yields.
Porthos is efficient and brutal, skewering his opponent after a few exchanges. This time, Random desires that the loser should survive.
Aron disarms his opponent, and offers the yield, allowing his opponent to leave unharmed.
Zurehn insists that “there is no honour here”, but as he is wearing a sword, he is not permitted to refuse. He swears at his opponent, and takes advantage of a stumble on loose footing to touch the shoulder and cut the forearm.
In the castle, Porthos dons the cloak of a king’s guard and leaves us.
The mysterious visitors are not about, and we don’t have clearance for the important parts of the palace, so we take up lodgings in a nearby hotel.

Kashfan Plots

((summary: the elder brother of the Kashfan king is killed, and arranged for the body to be found in a Begman brothel.))
In the expectation that whatever trouble Osric left us may catch up in the night, Aron stays awake to keep watch. Around midnight there is noisy arguing from the next room.
“Bastardo”, “Dos Madres” etc.
Random needs his beauty sleep, so Aron wakes Zurehn for a second opinion.
Mid complaint about being woken for no good reason, we hear a crash of broken glass – somebody has been thrown out the window and split their skull on the courtyard flagstones.
First Zurehn investigates below, over the protests of the night porter, who insists he should be the one to call the guards; then after Aron wakes random he jumps down as well.
Random beats up the heavy in the courtyard who was supposed to move the body, and says “you want it gone, it’s gone” – trumping himself and the body back to Amber.
Flora identified the body as the Kashfan king’s elder brother, and that he officially renounced the throne, but it wasn’t really like that.
Caine is impressed that you can hardly see the second head injury on the body.
While this is going on, Zurehn corners a woman in the room, while Aron is investigating from the balcony.
She stabs at Zurehn when he blocked her path, but the dagger is blocked by the armor worn under his clothing.
While cagey, she keeps saying “he was a very bad man”, “this must not have happened”, and “I need to be away from here tonight”. Eventually she offers the name “Jacquelina”, which was obviously made up on the spot.
At the appointed time, Zurehn recalls Random with trump, and she recognises him.
He also recognised her, but did not share the real name.
Either way, Random offers to put the plan back on track and get the body back into the cart where it ought to be.
Aron tries to shadow-walk Jacquelina back to the Eregnor border by stepping sideways and looping back. It’s easy enough to get out of Begma, but hard to get the mountains quite right when he’s never been there before.
To expedite things, they call Random in for the last hop – and he passes Aron back through a trump contact to Zurehn.
This triggers Fiona’s rune and blisters Aron’s arm, being painful to Random and Zurehn as well.
Aron: “What does it look like to you”
Zurehn: “Looks like you pissed off a sorceress”
The police search party in the morning are surprised not to find anything, but eventually find the broken window in the other room.
And we manage to move to the room with a palace view we requested.

On sovereignty.

A well dressed man buys us breakfast and takes over the whole dining room to have a private conversation.
Aron: “I try to stay out of Politics”
Random: “He’s new”
((The appropriate response was “Aron my dear, you are Politics”))
It’s implied that we’re in a diplomatic incident for interfering in the affairs of sovereign states.
However Random assures him we’re here for unrelated reasons and offers to get rid of the body once again.
(The plan here is that a Texorami brothel is equally shameful to Kashfan morals, but doesn’t put Begma in an awkward position)

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Act 2, episode 12
Fight and Flight

Finndo’s Execution

Llewella tells Aron she is both a princess of Amber and a princess of Rebma, and he would still be welcome in Rebma. Then she sends him back to the castle where he is summoned to Corwin.
Corwin orders him to go to the dungeon and execute Finndo.
Within the dungeon, he stops to confirm the order with the King.
Caine interrupts in the final corridor to remind him about blood curses, which gets a stoic response, and asks to watch.
There is a horrible shout from the cell, Finndo lies dead in a pool of blood while Benedict is slumped in a corner. The deed was already done.

Stoke-under-sea

Random is sent to go investigate the chaos plague, and take the usual suspects with him.
Aron points out this is a job for a sorceror, but Zurehn is already there as far as we know.
So we drive out to that shadow. The last shift is difficult, and the car pops out into the middle of the ocean, promptly sinking.
((in my headcanon, Random always drives a convertable or a 1920s soft-top))
There is driftwood and dead people and bits of roof.
Aron takes a dive to see if there are fields and villages down there, but hits the pressure limit where more drastic shape-shifting would be required.
Random calls up an abandoned sailboat, and the sea does start to flow out, washing us away from land masses.
We sail into the shore of the western landmass, and scale a cliff as storm clouds gather.
Everything is mud and wreckage and stranded fish.
Fiona gates in, and observes the storm is targeted at any living thing in this shadow.

You can’t fight in here, this is the war room

Speculation about just how enraged Osric is, and if he would see Amber destroyed and bring the chaos plague to the golden circle rather than try to rule.
Caine points out that’s what he would do… and come in as Amber’s saviour when all is lost.
In other news, chaos armies are cutting through the remnants of Finndo’s armies and making their own incursions.
Benedict is getting very, very drunk instead of commanding. And people who are not Aron don’t think he has a right to sulk.
As Random keeps pushing buttons, Caine keeps handing Aron knives.
Eventually this is worth a half-hearted toss to keep up appearances, and a public return of Random’s Finndo trump, “Not that it’s much good now”
Aron refuses to intercede with his father, and leaves the room.
(but then goes to his father anyway, to apologise for stuff)
Deirdre is chosen to go, leaving Random and Caine to speculate about the trump, and express surprise (Random) and disappointment (Caine) at the lack of effort with the daggers.

bushwhack

Random, Phil, and Phil’s Prussians, head out into shadow to capture somebody from chaos for interrogation.
They find a beastmaster, and separate them from their beasts with a combination of military finesse and cheating.
The unconscious prisoner is brought back and given to Julian for interrogation.
“Holy war”, “the apostate state” and so forth.
Phil only states “there are holy wars everywhere”
Some of the Prussians ask to visit home after this, and Random leads them.

shape-shifters young and old

Aron’s research in the library reveals nothing about chaos plagues, but the same conclusions about a history cut that Phil reached last time.
Aron contacts Dworkin to ask about a card.
Dworkin says it’s been a long time since he’s looked into a soul like yours, then asks after “the old shape-shifter”*. Aron asks when would be a good time, but Dworkin says he’s already done and cuts the contact.
After some time spent practicing finding advantageous environments in shadow, Dworkin calls back and hands Aron’s card (that he was using) through the call.
Aron’s card: It depicts the naive young man in a pastoral scene. But something about the lighting and shadow suggests the possibility of an oncoming storm.

Dworkin also suggested Phil should get in touch, but when he does, he makes contact with a fire breathing dragon; panics, and puts Dworkin’s card in the very back of the deck behind Osric in the “Never Call This Person” list.

“Why do you hate my father?”

Random awakes from a dream about being trump called, and finds his deck has been sorted with Aron’s card on top.
When he calls, Aron asks for a private chat and steps through.
“What did you see and who did you tell?”
Random’s story is that he saw pillars of flame, bat winged demons, something like a hellmaid, a cat, and other forms. He told Corwin, because Corwin was the “officer of the day”, and he’d be afraid to tell anyone else. Also even more afraid to keep something like that secret. It’s dangerous for himself, and he’ll always put himself first.
For some reason one of Caine’s daggers is sitting in a back pocket…

The other side of trump

After speculation about whether everyone else got one, Aron is attacked through the trump.
He awakens back in the castle, where Fiona explains that Osric tried to kill him.
Fiona tattoos his arm with a power word that will block trump contacts, but says “of course you can remove it whenever you want”. ((Aron has four methods in mind))

As Aron is leaving the castle (again), Flora makes small talk and asks to walk to the gate with him. She doubtless has her own reasons to be seen together, but there is no objection.

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Episode 11
Curtain Call

In which sons doom their fathers, and brother is set against brother

A harvest of souls

Random awoke in a wicker man, to the smell of gasoline.
In a rage after what happened to Mireille, he goes on a killing spree using a combine harvester that runs on the souls of kittens, and is lubricated with orphan’s tears.
Julian is displeased to have it dumped on the border of Arden, and demands it be consecrated before the dogs eat it.
Random calls in a favour with Caine, and has the high priest of the church of the Unicorn brought to him in chains.
Only Caine is excommunicated over this.

Continental Drift

Zurehn awakes in a freshly ploughed field near a place called Stoke.
The farmer, driving a tractor, is at least familiar with the idea of strange men waking up in the middle of nowhere, and offers “stag do” as an explanation.
According to a calendar at the farmhouse, it is 1970 – which doesn’t mean much but is at least a point of reference.
Apparently there is a war on, and the recruiting office would like to see a man of Zurehn’s age.
Zurehn asked to see the “rest of Stoke”, which produces a confused look but the farmer offers to drop him at the services later on.
At the service station, Zurehn learns a bit about the war from newspapers. Two lands have long been at war, but things stepped up recently with a land war in action.
A call from Finndo interrupts things, and Zurehn steps through a card for a tour of his hometown.
This is a high-gravity version of ancient Rome, where chariots and tanks train and prepare to fight wherever they are needed.
However the tour ends at sunset, Zurehn is instructed to leave before dark, and Finndo refuses to reveal what happens after dark.
A teleport brings Zurehn back to the farmhouse kitchen, where the farmer was cooking breakfast. “Stag Do.”
After a blood test (it’s OK, Zurehn bleeds in red), a few phone calls, and a few ministry of transport cars later, Zurehn is in a military HQ where they explain the situation and discuss how to put his skills to use.
The enemy bleed pink goo, but look human otherwise. Sometimes they are copies of people you know – so people have got used to bleeding in front of each other as a test.
Continental drift (1 meter per year) has brought these lands together and recently formed a land bridge.
Osric suggests Zurehn could resolve the situation in favour of the pink goo, a chaos infection that can cross shadows, and perhaps put a stop to the random travelling that way.
There is another call from Finndo, now severely injured with a severed arm – Zurehn offers him extraction and medical attention and the promise of a good fight when he’s recovered.
Finndo points out most of the people here are probably already infected, and the best option would be to cleanse the world with fire, starting with the healthy looking people before they become more dangerous.
Zurehn first informs Osric of the situation, then immediately informs Caine, Fiona and Random (who promises a military medical expedition to help out with the disease)
While in the trump call, Random sees a green aura around Zurehn and suggests he’s being targeted by magic.
Zurehn counters with a power word, but it comes back, so he teleported out to Kalenwic.
After a few moments, it comes back again, so he trumps out to Random.
Some time later, Zurehn returns and brings in Fiona to help study the disease.
She demonstrates a blood sample can be returned to normal magically, and gives several hours of instruction on how to create a cascading spell to cure a whole area.
In the morning a soldier bursts in to say “it’s working – he’s out there throwing people into the sea”, and television screens confirm this, a red armoured person smashing up the enemy forces on the land bridge.

Aron, Master at Arms?

Caine points out that it doesn’t matter if everyone knows you didn’t do it, word got out that you did. (somebody set up a shrine and everything)

Dreams of Demons

Phil revealed to Aron that he had a dream about a demon arguing with the King.
Library research was not fruitful, there is hidden history there, but it stops abruptly around the time of Eric’s birth (+/- 200 years?)
Phil’s sketch looks unlike a chaos creature, but like storybook demons from his home shadow. (OOC: probably Swayvil or another chaos lord, but apart from a glimpse of the chaos trump deck we haven’t seen anything like that)
Aron asks Benedict about the sketch, then tries Fiona (who is masked), and Brand.
Rinaldo answers, and steps through the card instead of taking the sketch.
He points out things in the palace: a secret passage that has been painted over, a bricked up gallery “you don’t want to know what’s behind there”, and a pillar that was damaged in a fight between Corwin and Eric.
Rinaldo suggested Fiona could help with the sketch, and gets very upset when informed she is hiding.
After banging on doors, he runs into the war room, and finds Bleys (rather than Caine). They ask for privacy and teleport out, leaving a ward on the door.
Corwin orders Phil to arrest Aron, Phil decides to take him outside anyway and their horses are shot.
Random throws Aron down the stairs on Corwin’s instructions.

Bloodline revealed

When Aron walked the pattern in front of Random and Phil, involuntary shapeshifting occurred. When the first walk burned the pattern into him, it did not burn that out of him.
The forms were not just his natural forms, but included others, such as the demon Phil showed him earlier.
Random called Corwin in to witness,

Finndo’s Fate

Finndo was snatched by Benedict and Caine (Plan A), followed by Corwin (Random’s medical expedition).
Now chained in the dungeons, in secret. The dungeon guards who unlocked the cell were murdered to keep this secret.

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Episode 10
Trip Trap

Introducing: Rhett, the bigger bad, and “Rinaldo”, “Son of” Brand

On Rinaldo

There is a young, friendly and enthusiastic version of Brand in the camp, using the name “Rinaldo”.
The last thing he remembers is walking the pattern, and calling Random because he did not recognise the face on the Trump.
Rinaldo needs blood to live, he had consumed a cup of Random’s blood. This is like the pattern ghosts Phil encountered in under-shadow.
Rinaldo is enough like Brand for Julian to punch him.

A change of tactics

The time has come for Amber to take a more aggressive stance and hunt down enemy camps. This gives a cover for other missions involving Chekhov’s swords.
Phil and Aron set out with the free company for skirmishing, while Random assembles a tank battalion for frontal assaults.

On Rett

Caine pulled Random through to spy on Osric’s throne room, through a crawlspace in the ceiling.
Osric is not the king here, both Osric and Finndo defer to a greying man named Rhett, and call him “Brother”.
There is revealed a plan to draw out Benedict by putting Aron’s life in danger, and a decision to put plans into action immediately.
Random presumably defers to Caine’s judgement and doesn’t give any warnings.

Benedict and the Black Riders

Kalenwic is less of a wreck than we remembered it ((Benedict expected it to survive, so reality adjusted to match?))
There is a black flag hanging from the tower room in Kalenwic, and the black armour has been seen.
Aron organises some of the builders Phil retrieved from shadow to erect a scaffolding to reach the tower for negotiations – with the explicit understanding that the black riders can knock it down if they don’t want to talk.
A note, attached to a pebble read “message from yr father: you never call, nor do you write”
Benedict revealed himself privately and separately to Aron and Phil, the black riders are his personal bodyguard and he has his own stuff. But we should maintain the current plan.

Ozville rendez-vous, traps tripped

Phil’s hellride unexpectedly brings us into a noisy industrial city where the free company are decidedly archaic.
Everything goes suspiciously quiet (by the standards of a noisy industrial city), and Phil becomes worried.
Random is inbound, but Phil does not believe we’re in immediate danger, so Aron breaks Trump contact.
Just in time for Osric to make it rain bullets (literally – my shadow, my rules)
Ducking into a hotel lobby, we find ourselves face to face with Finndo. (who else?)
Phil is awe struck, while Aron is already running back outside.
Evading the bullets by smashing a plate glass window – falling glass cuts a mannequin in half and lacerates him.
In the aisle of a department store, shifting fails and Finndo runs Aron down.
“I’m taking you back to my palace”
Aron reached into shadow, and seized his father’s sword. The vorpal blade went snicker-snack, and Finndo’s lifeless arm dropped to the floor. There were serpents and unicorns dancing and singing “New York! New York!”.*
A huge explosion outside knocks everyone over, and Finndo got away.
Phil finally makes his way out of the hotel spa and gift shop, but the explosion left him cut and bleeding and black and white.
Exit stage right via Deirdre’s Trump
Deirdre is both pleased and perturbed by Finndo’s forearm.
Corwin is surprised but not impressed, he at least says “well done, lad”
A feverish Phil has visions of Oberon’s exile from the courts, but keeps these secret if he even believes them.

Random and Mireille

Osric asked Random nicely not to intervene.
“You know I can’t do that”
Osric asked Random not so nicely, “I know where your sister goes to school”
It is no longer possible to hellride towards Aron.
Tanks with air support vs Tank-busters and artillery and being in the enemy’s personal shadow.
This does not go well, but it is noisy enough to hold Osric’s attention, perhaps.
“Tank of my desire…” – Random tries to set a destiny on a tank full of explosives to drive itself into the artillery position.
It worked a bit, but not quite as intended.
An injured Benedict clad in black armour Trumps out to Random.
Benedict also knows where Mireille is and gives Random directions, to call him in for the last part.
A journey through a cave to an alpine valley. Benedict leads the way, swearing occasionally from his injuries.
The school is ablaze, a raging inferno – Osric followed through on his threats.
Fiona is pulled in, and extinguishes the blaze by emptying a lake onto it.
There are not enough bodies, and those who are there are unidentifiable.

*If you believed that, there’s a job in the propaganda corps. Apply to Random or Zurehn with an open mind. What probably happened is Benedict defeated Finndo in single combat, and the exploding tank gave Finndo a chance to escape being taken prisoner or killed outright.

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GM Notes - Episode 10
Getting a feel

I’ve started getting the different voices of the Elders clear in my head. This is faintly amusing, as we’re in an end-game of an arc, and Elders may die. Time to work out which threads might be cut short there, and deal with them, or at least acknowledge them and then be cruel.

Episode 10, I kicked some plots into touch that the PCs hadn’t noticed. I checked with one of the players who’s pretty quiet that he was enjoying his PC, and he was, and that’s fine. I can always throw more plot at him, he said, but he wasn’t suffering from a lack as such. He’s not as enthusiastic as the others, but during the session it seemed he enjoyed himself. I gave him some foreshadowing and he tucked it away and elected ICly to believe it was just fever dreams – and I am OK with that. Some stuff that happens to him comes out at odd times. Other stuff I don’t know yet. And if he wants to make a decision that a dream with the King in is just a dream, this does not worry me. It’s funny, too.

I had some hidden PCs revealed, and Osric had a win against Fiona (sort of) and Finndo got creamed, but not killed, which was prevented by PC action and accident. Oh, Bad Stuff, how cool you are.

I’ve also worked out how to deal with the fact all these Elders are massively powerful, egotistical, and in many ways central to an ongoing campaign. Nobody’s immortal; let this lesson be learned if people die.

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The Chronicles of Random 6
Secrets and Lies

Mostly quiet day, for a change.

Came to in Arden camp, Julian was his usual unsympathetic self
but did seem interested in the black riders who could stab Finndo.
Also asked if he know what Aron was holding out on us about, but
he said no, maybe get him to talk to his dad and listen in.

Went back to my hut, talked to Fiona, she said not a good idea
for Aron to talk to Ben, but maybe explain to him that it’d
be better for Ben for him (Aron) not to have held out on us
when the shit finally does hit the fan.

Gave it a shot, no dice. Also gave Z a chance to fess up to
whatever secret deal he has going with Ozzie, he talked to Caine
but no dice there either, ducked telling Caine everything.
Rather him than me. Probably be executions all round over this
lot when dad gets back. Figure he’s Finndo’s son, based on
what I know so far, but can’t prove it yet.

Corwin told Aron to go find Ben’s sword, which was missing.
Probably a trap, but probably not a trap for me, so figured
what the hell.

Lot of dithering as people decided what to do. Phil came back,
still in colour. Aron said no to walking the pattern and popping
to the sword, Z and Aron did some sort of mind meld thing but
apparently it didn’t work. Apparently Ben also missing some
sort of Jewelry box sized box thing.

Z also seemed to desperately want to pretend he wasn’t a sorcerer.
I think maybe he’s been overdoing it. Or not doing it enough.
Whatever it is.

Eventually agreed to teach Aron how to walk towards an item in
shadow and we set off. Either he wasn’t trying to find it or he’s
got zero talent for this shit, because he was terrible at it,
we just ran over some of Finn’s troops and had to hoof it through
shadow. Dealt with the troops (some sort of all-terrain wolf things)
and let Phil take us to a safe place. Weird black-and-white shadow
cave full of crystals.

Z was definitely not working on a spell to port us somewhere while
I called Eric to keep him posted on the troop movements: Call got
cut off by some sort of explosion or something.

Got a call from Brand who told me not to trust Eric. Weird.
Like anyone ever trusts Brand or Eric. Called Julian,
he told me he had fixed Brand. Pulled us through, told him about my talk
with Brand and he bolted for Eric’s tent. Went after. Guessed
he was revising his opinion of his success with Brand at that point.

Eric KO’d, at least one more Brand on the loose than we expected.
Went to tell Deirdre she was in charge, we had a chat about Finn’s
semi-vulnerability to repeated artillery shells to the head.

Settled down in my hut to wait. Got a call from Brand. A new one,
this time. Or, well, an old one. Seemed… unsure of himself?
Pulled him through. Didn’t remember me, or try to fry my brain,
or act superior. Very unsettling.

Seemed to want to drink some of my blood (ok, that was more like
the Brand we all know and love). Didn’t let him drink direct
but gave him a cupful. He said that would hold him for a bit.

Sent an adjutant out to go get Julian and settled down for a
chat with Brand.

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Episode 9
Pattern and Patter

Eric is intrigued by the black swords, but can’t spare anyone useful.
Random is still sleeping off the effects.
Perhaps it’s a magic powder that sends sleep into the future?
An elegant theory, but met with skepticism.
Almost as much skepticism as explaining sorcery as “Fiona did it”
((This is actually possible, but only a sorceror would know that))
Back in the castle, the pattern is quiet but the seal has gone.
It is at least the same shape and colour…
Items have been stolen from Benedict’s room, or Corwyn just wants somebody out of the way.
Sounds like a job for a detective.
Phil gets a new nickname and a new suit of armour.
Random offers Aron some truly terrible advice, but probably meant well.
Zurehn learned exactly the wrong lesson from Fiona
Luckily, Zurehn is a good friend and you can trust him.
Two days’ ride is preferable to trumping anyone at the moment, but it gives Random’s ankle a chance to heal a bit.
Hell-crawling is as useless as predicted for finding anything, except enemy camps and six-legged wolves.
Phil’s “safe place” is a black and white crystal cave.
Only Phil is surprised, and terrified, by this.
Brand tells Random not to trust Eric
Julian helps Brand get his heads together, and something goes off in the camp.
Brand was in no state to make a call – Julian and Random run off.
Brand does not need Fiona’s lessons, he knows all the wrong lessons already.
Luckily Zurehn has a good and loyal friend to kick him out of it.
Deirdre is back on her feet, and has actual good advice.
“Ears” has also healed, guess he’s Phil again for now. His safe places are more conventional as well.

((OOC: episode 8 was the Aron show, so I wanted other people’s personal stories to have some time. Also Aron isn’t feeling particularly “brave” right now.))

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The diary of Zurehn - Chapter 9

Random tried to put me up for a medal, but I made sure everyone knew it was down to Random’s driving a tank and Aron jumping in and saving the day (Random wants it noted that the day only needed saving after Aron cocked it up in the first place).

Random and I rested whilst Aron got on with planning next steps, and we heard that Phil might now be in recovery in Amber.

Aron pointed out that the new faction (the black riders) had a sword that can cut into Finndo’s armour and we should find that stuff but with a faction we can trust. The only awake person who we know who is good at walking through Shadow is Phil.

I suggested we leave Random a note and go to the castle to find Phil to convince him to join the plan.

We got to the castle. And heard Phil was resting, so we got some food until he woke.

Phil woke so I sent Aron off to convince him.

And I carried on eating and sleeping until I knew what was going on.

Random turned up and woke me, and suggested I speak to someone about what I’d said to Osric.

Discussions later we agreed I should speak to Lord Caine and let him know the details.

I did, but Caine was busy so didn’t get a chance to finish telling him the result of the agreement I struck to rescue Random and Aron.

I contacted Fiona and made sure that she knew the full terms.

Then we had a chat about coke and Random gave me a sachet for use in emergencies.

Phil and Aron turned up and we had some more conversations – the end result is I needed to sleep and thereby end my current list of missions and see where I wake up.

I woke up in he castle so Trumped Random and found out they were outside Benedict’s room so stepped through. Phil joined us not long after.

Aron’s father’s sword and box have gone missing – there was some suggestion sorcery would be able to find the things, but Phil’s a detective so we let him detect.

I was allowed into Aron’s head and realised he had a good understanding of his father’s box, but not so much with the sword. [And I wanted him to make sure he trusted me and wanted me to be his friend before I left.]

So, whilst Phil detected, Random and I argued with Aron to convince him that him riding to the box would help find the sword, which was Corwyn’s orders.

We had Aron convinced to go find the box, and collected Phil, who was wearing some new armour.

Aron seemed unconvinced, but I told him I had faith in him – he was raised to follow orders and to follow in his father’s footsteps.

We ended up getting possibly lost, under attack, ran away with Random’s help, had a plan to use “Fiona’s Spell” to get us to the camp, then got Phil to ride us somewhere safe.

In all this Random got a call from Brand, then a call from Julian.

We stepped through to Arden, and Julian ran off – so I Trumped Brand.

Brand really wanted me to be his friend – which would be a reasonable thing to consider if I hadn’t already had that idea myself, and Fiona’s advice to BE A WALL came to mind, with a brief word to strengthen my Psyche but I could still feel him wanting me to want him to like me, to have him be his best friend. I had no choice but to keep him out, and I knew it wouldn’t last long – “luckily” Aron kicked me in the crotch and that disturbed the connection for a while.

When I was able to speak I let Aron know there is now only one Brand, and he’s either more powerful or more willing to use that power over Trump calls, and that people really shouldn’t try to do that in the future.

Random said he’d been saying that a lot.

Phil’s ear was fully healed, and in pink and he was saying he doesn’t get pulled to the wrong place ay more, so I had an idea and ran it past Random. We get the idea of Ben’s box from Aron, put it in Phil, and get Phil to find the box, and hopefully the sword.

Random said it wasn’t a terrible plan, but he’d not be any good to convince Aron, so Phil and I went off to find Aron – apparently talking to Deirdre.

We got in and spoke with Aron, letting him know the plan, and he wanted Phil to check he can go somewhere safe.

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GM Notes - Episode 9
Hrrrm. Timing and Pacing

The PCs spent most of today in non-peril RP, with me just nudging things from time to time. I added mystery to a couple of plots, and I threw in a swerve, but the main plot didn’t progress. I did start off with a PC told ‘do this’, but then there was a lot of discussion. Play happened by committee,

This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that I signposted by planning the campaign’s underlying truths that the main plot was the Big Thing. (It might not be. The swerve might be the Big Thing. But I need to make up my mind and then at least trundle along that path.)

I’ve wanted the PCs to find out a few things on their own, and some of those have happened and some haven’t. If I present them on a plate, it’s all about my story, suddenly. People did come along to the game knowing there would be my story, and I can tie them up in it ICly, but they also have their own stories. So, I need to bind those together more. I’ve been throwing in too many sorts of ninjas, and it can probably turn out that some of them are related. (Some already are.)

Binding together the plots, and probably putting them in partial opposition, strikes me as the best way to get things going and give the PCs a hard time while the players have a good time. Now it’s just details, right?

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GM Notes - Episode 8
Lightly guiding

A thing that I’m trying to do is let PC decisions guide what’s going on. So, PC decisions made most of this session happen. It was good, I managed to get through it without having to do more than make the world work – but I do need more.

The long-term plots need actual work. I’m writing this after episode 9, and as far as I know we’re all enjoying the game, but in terms of pregression along plots I have, it’s going slowly. I should make more of PC plots that interact with my main threads.

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