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The Emerald Saga

posted Jan 13, 2013 19:07:04 by jujitsudaveps3
Below is a summary of my campaign's first session. I just started a Vikings/ Runequest 6 game over Skype and it's got off to a great start. I only have 2 players though and could use some more if anyone is interested. It's Saturdays 1 PM (-6GMT) Florida time. Contact me at if interested.

Session 1, The Allthing

The game started with Wulfgar and Snorri working the fields of the homestead when Erik, Snorri's son hailed his father, telling him there was a visitor. The man visiting was Thorbjorn the Tangle-Haired, an influential Jarl trying to speak with Snorri about the upcoming votes at the Allthing. He among the other Jarls wanted to remove King Ivar of Limerick and elect a new king because Mathgamain, king of the Dalcassians was his ally and not one that could be trusted. The King was good to Snorri however in the past, granting him a ship. Snorri made a speech to the Allthing on Ivar's behalf and swayed the Jarls to his cause. Snorri did, however, publicly call for Mathgamain to send his son to Limerick to strengthen the alliance.
Thorbjorn responded to his disrupted plans by trying to devise a way to have Snorri removed as Godi, even trying to bribe Wulfgar but the attempt failed once again. After speaking with King Ivar after the Allthing, they departed on a diplomatic mission to another Irish kingdom. Before they left, however, A mysterious man told them of a treasure horde beyond the coast holding the sword of the Tuatha de Danaan and that he would lead them there in return for finding him acquitted of sorcery at the Allthing. The PCs used their influence to do so and the man, named Groni, was true to his word.
The group found as they wished to depart that their ship was gone! After speaking among the shoremen they found that a group of men left in the ship after wealth had changed hands between the two groups. Not forgetting a favor, the King lent the group a ship and a large contingent of men to track down their own and found it in a wooded inlet a few miles up the coast. Snorri quite angrily demanded the ship's return from the captain, a man named Malkarn who claimed to have purchased it from another named Ingvoldr. Not wishing to lose this ship or the wealth he paid for it, he challenged Snorri to the Holmgang, a duel, to be the owner. Snorri named Wolfgar as his champion to represent him and the battle ended quickly, Wulfgar impaling Malkarn's leg with his sword. Malkarn, defeated, lost the ship but dared not try to keep it by force, as his own men were badly outnumbered. The character's returned the borrowed ship to the King but the man stayed, eager to go Viking.
The group sailed to another Irish Kingdom of Muadach up the coast ruled by King Mael Muad mac Brain. They struck a bargain and the King would swear undying allegiance to any that would give to him the sword of the Tuatha de Danaan. With Groni's help (the alleged sorcerer from the Allthing) the ship sailed to a misty island that consisted of a craggy cliff and a stone fort atop it. After pondering a long while, the group approached it when they were turned away by a mysterious bald, robed man that looked nothing like any monk. Searching the base of the island-cliff, the found a cavern that they agreed they would search in the morning. Before morning came, the crew was awoken by a screeching, winged monstrosity that emerged from the water. The men were filled with fear but Snorri and Wulfgar fought the beast wounding it. The men were inspired, ran across the decks with shield and spears and chased the beast away.
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7 replies
jackpersona42 said Jan 22, 2013 22:02:16
Just how long was this session? You really covered a lot of ground, literally and figuratively!
jujitsudaveps3 said Jan 23, 2013 02:37:43
With only 2 players, there wasn't a lot of debate or mulling things over. I typically like to cut the crap as well, getting into the fun parts of the game rather than get bogged down in minutae. This session lasted 3 hours. Notice that most of it was not combat related either.
pjw611 said Jan 23, 2013 19:21:17
That's part of why I was so impressed! All that RP in just three hours. Sometimes it takes 12 hours of gaming to get that much done with a larger party full of micro-planners.
jujitsudaveps3 said Jan 24, 2013 02:03:57
Thanks! If you are interested, I could use more players.
Surprisingly, I don't believe in rushing things. I try to describe things in detail and when the players have performed whatever actions, I move on. I organize things into scenes rather than mapping it out and I don't use dungeon crawls. I also loosely prepare before game sessions in the form of flowcharts so the characters can go whatever route they want without missing a beat. If they go on a tangent I don't expect, I deal with it but the important thing is keeping the game at a pace that keeps things interesting while making sure the players are the one's driving the game. Half of what I posted here was stuff I jotted down in notes to be used no particular point. Half of those were made up on the spot.
jujitsudaveps3 said Jan 27, 2013 17:01:24
Session 2, Into the Deep

10 men stayed behind to guard the ship while Snorri, Wulfgar and Groni went into the caverns with 29 men. The place reeked of rotten fish and the water within the cavern went just over the men's ankles, The tunnel extended into a larger cavern with a stair carved into the far side. Next to that was a rocky outcropping within the dank cavern where perched upon it was the beast, now obviously wounded. It screeched at the group but it didn't attack. The men threw axes at it but could not pierce it's hard scales so Wulfgar threw a torch, striking it in the eye and wounding it. Enraged, it swooped down, charging Wulfgar and forcing him to protect himself with his shield . The front rank of men broke shield wall formation and surrounded it, jabbing this thing with their spears. Wulfgar struck true at the monster's wing, severing it's talon and tearing into the membrane. Seeing a weak point, the men ran the creature through, one spear piercing it's leg and 2 more finding it's heart. After great cheers, one of the men severed it's head with an axe and now it adorns the prow of the ship.
Wulfgar then noticed a glimmer in the water. Snorri, curious, swam after it and saw it was from a tunnel under the floor of the cavern. After many moments, Groni swam after and emerged in another cavern, filled with water and containing a tile platform and another carved stairwell. The platform had standing stones at four corners and in the center was a pedestal, now empty. The light that shown in the cavern emerged from the Claiomh Solais, the sword of the Tuatha now held by Snorri. Groni warned Snorri that this place was guarded by Danu, the water god, but Snorri paid him no mind, jumping back into the water. The hand of Danu grasped Snorri firmly, pulling him to the bottom! Snorri struggled, preparing to accept death, sword in hand when the force stopped and he was able to escape the churning water. Snorri emerged in the original cavern and, having his fill of angry Celtic gods, boarded the ship with his men, leaving Groni and any promise of plunder behind.
The men sailed away from the accursed place now lost and by the end of the day, reached land. They knew not where they were but storm clouds began to fill the sky and to their surprise, a giant man made of water strode the waves toward them! It used the currents to pull them toward it's grasp when Snorri prayed to Njord. Njord answered, blasting a gust of wind propelling the ship to shore. The ship had crashed hard into the rocks and left a great hole in the hull with not enough material on board to repair it. The men walked inland to a forest where they began to chop the trees. Before they could finish, a strange horned, green man looked at them with curiosity and asked why they chopped his friend. Terrified, as Vikings are of the supernatural, they ran back to the ship and despite Snorri's pleas, would not return to that place.
The men searched other places inland and found the remains of a village. All of the people there were dead for some time and thinking nothing of it, they took all the materials needed to patch the hull. Upon returning to the ship, an Irishman, wet from head to toe met them and claimed he was Gadu. and that they had met Ur Malgath. When asked who Ur Malgath was, he responded that he was the god of plague and for the price of the sword, would negotiate on his behalf. Despite Wulfgar's diagreement, Snorri refused and instead bartered a deal with Danu that he would toss the sword in the water in one month and a day in return not bothering his ship.
They then sailed back to the Muadach clan after patching the ship and getting their bearings. Handing the sword to king Muad, they had cemented their alliance while breaking the promise to Gadu.
jujitsudaveps3 said Feb 03, 2013 23:27:57
Session 3, Tamhlact

Snorri, Wulfgar and the crew of the ship stayed under the hospitality of King Muada and was asked whether nearby was a Druid or medicine man that could help them. Wulfgar and a considerable number of the crew had begun to feel fatigued at the onset of illness and when they mentioned, Ur Malgath, spirit of the yellow sickness, the King's face turned to worry.
The King told them he would not mention it to the rest of the crew as not to alarm them but there hadn't been seen a Druid in many long years especially with the coming of the Christian faith. He mentioned though a wise man named Seamus would assist them in the morning but they had to go as soon as possible. The King didn't want to spread the yellow illness within his own settlement.
The crew, Snorri and Wulfgar had met with Seamus the next morning beyond the palisade of the settlement along with all the women that had fraternized with the crew on the previous evening. He told them as he led them to the marshes of the realm of Ur Malgath that the spirit could possibly free them of sickness for a price. Within the marshes was the Tamhlact, the burial barrows for the plague dead. Once arrived, the women were weeping, inconsolable now knowing death would be their fate. Snorri, Seamus, Wulfgar, 2 Vikings and one of the women went into the Tamlact to meet the spirit. To do so, Seamus explained, they all had to consume one of the purple mushrooms within. After testing one of the mushrooms on the girl, they saw it was safe to consume and ate.
The place they were in was an underground stone catacomb with long dead plague victims stored in the alcoves, but immediately upon eating the mushrooms found they were in a vast and twilit swamp. Seamus led them to a ferryman that took the party to a gnarled stone tower, home to Ur Malgath where upon landing were attacked by a disgusting amalgam of men with cloven hooves and the heads of goats. Their fur was covered in filth and they set upon them immediately with spears. Although the Viking's skill with arms was superior, the 2 Vikings companions were slain by the foes superior numbers. Snorri's leg was wounded in the conflict by a spear but not before cutting the monstrosities down in a torrent of blood that ran across Ur Malgath's threshold. Seamus knew of the medicinal arts and bandaged Snorri's leg.
They entered the tower and were greeted by a sickly, yellow skinned goblin with a long tail sitting on a throne of rusted iron. Snorri and Wulfgar asked Ur Malgath what deal must be struck to save themselves from the sickness and were told that they must face 3 trials; defeat his guardians which they did, spread his essence amongst a large Christian community and finally spread the sickness to one they cared about to prove their devotion. The second task would be handled easily enough but the third would be quite hard. They considered slaying Ur Malgath but were warned that they were within his realm, the spirit world and thought better of it. With that, they returned to the mortal realm.
They left behind Seamus and the women at the barrows as it was their fate to die there. They took with them the woman that travelled the spirit realm, now catatonic from the madness they endured and set sail to have much needed repairs to the ship. Along the way they met the man who had earlier claimed to be Gadu and now claimed to be the true identity of Groni, the man they left behind at the cliffside fort. They agreed to take him with them but in the night, tied him to heavy stones and pitched him off the side of the ship.
They visited an island monastery briefly to deliver the woman to the monks. They were off again but not before Gadu returned taking the form of the madwoman they left there. After asking for the return of the sword of the Tuatha and finding out they no longer had it, a great elemental form appeared
from the water not before Wulfgar pissed off the side into the water. The furious incarnation of Gadu laid waste the the ship and cast the crew into the sea. After a pitched battle with the water god, the vessel capsized and sent Snorri and Wulfgar into the briny depths where it took every ounce of their will to swim to shore. Wulfgar, despite taking fever from his illness, dragged Snorri to shore where they collapsed heavily, now without crew or ship.
jujitsudaveps3 said Feb 17, 2013 05:16:45
Session 4, Survivors of the Water God's Wrath

Gunnvaldr was a young man that was raised a slave within an Irish settlement most of his life. His mother told him stories of the Vanir and how his lineage had extended from them. For now, he was a simple woodcrafter. Once, his head filled with grand stories he ran and reached the shore before being returned to his owner and back to his life. Gunnvalder was a large and hulking man. Larger not only than the small, dark-haired Irish Cathailans that owned him but even other Norse slaves. No doubt, his large frame came from his ancestry.
As he settled down to a meal, a knock was heard at his door. A small, dark haired man requested hospitality for both he and his ill friend. Reluctantly, Gunnvaldr agreed and so met Snorri and Wulfgar. After a week of rest and medicine from a local Irish healer, Wulfgar had finally been freed of the wracking illness of Ur Malgath. In gratitude, Snorri accepted Gunnvaldr as a travel companion to return with him to Solohedbeg and Gunnvaldr, eager to see his destiny fulfilled, agreed.
They arrived in Solohedbed and Snorri was dismayed. Erik had barely noticed his father's departure and the women and children eagerly cried out for news of their dead kinfolk and wailed when Snorri told them. Knowing that to tell the truth of such things would brand him as unlucky or worse yet, a sorceror, Snorri claimed he was beset by the army of Mathgamain and overwhelmed, changing their wails of despair to howls for Irish blood. Snorri then was eager to leave the miserable settlement to return to Limerick and account for the events to King Ivar.
The party arrived in Limerick and saw a delegation of Irish depart and had audience with the King. The Irish there were led by a man known as Brian Boruna and claimed that he had captured the Jarl Thorbjorn and had taken him hostage. He now requested to Ivar to come claim their own hostage on Irish lands. Clearly this was a challenge to the king. With Snorri's false report convincing the King, it was decided that Mathgamain had betrayed Ivar and war was inevitable. Losing Thorbjorn was no great matter for he was hated by the king but his ship had food to be brought to Trondheim which suffered a famine. The party was then tasked by the King to attack the Irish and reclaim the vessel and Thorbjorn if possible. 100 Vikings were sent and once they reached the coast and saw a ship of that description, they attacked.
The Vikings formed into the shield wall after setting fire to the Irish settlement. The Irish responded by attacking en masse, breaking the line with their long-axes but Wulfgar rallied the men and with Gunnvaldr's help, forced the Irish back. The fight was grueling but Wulfgar and Gunnvaldr stood shoulder to shoulder on the front lines, the smell of blood and shit strong in the air as men fell and their screams echoing in the hills. Gunnvaldr had never been in battle being a craftsman and was nearly rendered senseless by the blows from the Irish axes, despite blocking with his shield. After a painful strike to his side cracking a rib he used his raw power to shove one to the ground and tore his belly open with his spear. Gunnvaldr had never killed before and was stunned by the battle-fear of it. The fight went in the Viking's favor and the Irish were routed. Even the Welsh bowman mercenaries ran, wishing no part of the fray. They looted and burned that place and found that Thorbjorn and his crew were slain, hanging from trees but they now had claimed his ship which they returned with only 7 dead from the battle.
King Ivar and Limerick cheered with their triumph and named Gunnvaldr and Wulfgar as Huscarls. With news of Thorbjorn's death, a new Jarl would be named at the upcoming Thing. Wulfgar's heroism in battle and Snorri's alliance with the Muadans made them possible choices. Now Autumn was here and with the harvest came plans for war,
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