Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shades of Gray in a T&T Sitting

No this isn't about sex in T&T.

Last night I ran a video session for a longer lasting group, JerryTel, Peryton, and The Boy (no name until he turns 18), with their pretty well developed Characters. While fetching fresh water and supplies for their ship en route from Pykvaale to the Islands of Stragae, they encountered the Raj of what they thought was a remote deserted island. They were commissioned by the prince, who was a Paju (a feline-folk species in my games) to get the statue of Kali away from a local death cult living atop the mountain which dominated the area.

Well after a fight with a band of cyclops, or "cyclopi" as I kept calling them, the adventurers met the death cultists themselves. It was mostly a community of ratlings and the high priest was a dwarf of south Asian descent that liked to wear white skull tattoo over his cheeks and brow. After an apology by the party's usual trouble-maker, The Boy's Character, Curly, for starting a fight with the cyclops guarding the path to the temple, things really lightened up.

JerryTel's Character, Jherri, the Great, took the lead in the scenario. He filled out his Warrior's personality a bit, showing a deep reluctance to bother the cultists who were being very nice and hospitable. The were definitely profit-driven, they charged for healing everyone, but they invited the adventurers to stay as long as they liked. They put on one of the better feasts that group had ever had, even if it was vegetarian. Of course the subaltern of temple, a ratling named Rizzi, would often entertain them as he practiced his singing of the Bhagavad Gita and tried to interest them in items from the Souvenir Shop. 

The group did notice that the cyclops lived away from the temple of Kali community, and had a shrine of their own. They also noticed that their own ritual healing seemed to coincide with the blood sacrifice of the injured cyclops from their earlier fisticuffs. Still, the cultists were very nice, and it became known that the ratlings lived in dread fear of the paju prince claiming their home as his domain-- he was a cat after all.

Jherri also noticed that in the pre-sun rise hours, Oa, the dwarven thugee-priest, and six of his temple guard ratlings would "Sing the Brahma Bull" from the summit of the mountain to the sea. A giant sacred cow would manifest from the mountain side and saunter its way, often walking on the air, to the surf. It was quite a striking scene. Now Curly, knew that there was something more to the scene than what they were seeing, but The Boy himself has been trying to moderate his somewhat impatient role-playing tactics of late, so he hanged back for the session. Peryton's Wizard, Alanthea (sp?), worked on her tan and bought the Cliff Notes Bhagavad Ghita to read.

Jherri, the Great, announced that the group was going to forgo the mission of stealing the statue of Kali, which both Curly and Alanthea decided not to argue against. They did have to pay for their dinner on this evening though. Jherri even joined in the ritual of "Singing the Brahma Bull" the next morning. He was supposed to be awarded some additional Con points, but failed a Savings Roll, and ended up with a just red skull tattooed onto his forehead. The sorceress was able to Dis-Spell the marking after quite a hard magical procedure, so the group decided to make their way down the mountain.

On the way down, the group was attacked by a rather large white bull, that had red eyes, breathed fire, and could cast Upsidaisy spells. It was a tough fight for the group, but after five turns they were able to injure the creature enough that it dissipated into thin air. But failing a Saving Roll, Curly now had the skull mark on his forehead. Alanthea was able to once again do magical surgery to remove it. And sure enough another giant-ish bull attacked having to dispatched again. This time everybody made the Saving Roll, and no one was further afflicted with the skull mark.

Running into the Raj, Prince Tantinje, again as the group boarded their snark (a boat that can be rowed as well as sailed). The tiger-faced aristocrat chided them on their failure, but Alanthea came up with a good enough lie to save some face. No payment was forthcoming though, including fresh water and food.

I wrote this scenario about six years ago as a counter to the second Indiana Jones movie. You know the one that conflated Hinduism with the Chinese-Siamese delicacy of monkey brains, and forgot that thugees were yogis and got their martial skills from that training not the goddess of death and rebirth. It was one where no one was right. The prince did indeed want to force the ratlings into submission and make them a part of his hunting grounds. The death cult had overran a temple of the Sun God, of the Old-Time Religion (Apollo/Sol Invictus), but the best the now pagan god could do was muster up a few cyclops, who were idiots, to try and retake the island. The cyclops were disliked by the raj as much as the death cultists so became "friends" with the folks that they should have been evicting. The big message is, "we are all wrong but what are we going to do about it?"

One thing, The Boy asked me what time period the game was set. It helped me establish that if my world of Elder was on Earth's timeline, it would be set around 1340 BP (years before the present)  or 675 A.D. The age of iron legions has passed and the knights of chivalry haven't appeared just yet. The spiritual magic of the Old Time Religions are being phased out by the monotheists, who were in turn are falling on each other.


  1. Replies
    1. Guruzz the cyclops was struck down in his prime! He died for the sins of the party, that had enough gold to make it worth the death cultists' time to heal anybody.

      (I did chuckle out loud, BTW)

  2. Replies
    1. One of the better tactical battles I've done in a while.

  3. I went and added a moral compass to my brain smashing dwarf - go figure

    1. Well Jherri never was the typical brain-smasher, take no gruff dwarf of RPG memes.