Friday, February 3, 2017

Iron Edda - Jokilaakso Saga pt. 1


After the holdfast creation, we did a short session to kick off my Iron Edda - War of Metal and Bone campaign. You can go back and read the holdfast creation notes and PC introductions here.


The group, led by Erp, who is understandably eager to find giant bones, journeyed south to the cabin of the hermit Toki. Before leaving Jokilaakso, Servius invoked Hermes in a ceremony to gain a blessing for their travel. Despite this blessing, Sigurd failed as the groups loresinger for their “Undertake a Perilous Journey” rolls, and their spirits were heavy and worn down as they trudged through heavy rain and mud to Toki’s hut.

As they neared the clearing, they heard shouting and commotion, and Helgi snuck closer and saw that there were two dozen Petruvians, mostly men, but a few women, angrily gathered around Toki’s hut. The Petruvians were carrying simple weapons and wearing leather armor, clearly civilians and not the well-equipped legionnaires, though one woman stood out as she wore a most un-Petruvian wolf-skin cloak. The group was demanding that Toki come out of his hut and give up his magic bones to them.

Bjorn came up with a plan to try and lead some of the Petruvians away, so that the more martially inclined of the group could ambush a slightly smaller group. Sigurd cast lots and saw that the gods would be pleased with this course of action, so the skald and goði began conversing and playing hornpipes within earshot of the loud Petruvians. As five Petruvians moved about 50 yards to see what going on with the old man in their garb and the hornpipe player, Sigurd attempted to sing the Galdr song, “Fare Forth Mightily” but his qualified success forced him to make a choice and chose “The song goes awry, is uncontrolled, or affects the wrong target” and so since it seemed like a song that could resonate with Thor, thunder cracked and lightning danced over the weapons and armor of the Seiðmann, Berserker, Shieldmaiden and Vargr.

As Servius attempted to talk the Petruvians out of busting in on Toki and ended up agreeing to talk to the Toki himself, old man to old man, Erp Hothead charged in, running through the feeble attempts of the Petruvians to attack him. Unscathed, he planted himself, crackling with electricity in front of Toki’s hut and all but dared the Petruvians to attack. But the others failed to follow his charged and Servius attempted to calm the situation and knocked on Toki’s door. Toki refused to emerge or let the foreign goði in to talk, but after a moment, said he would if the “Skin Changer” left. The Northerners realized that could either refer to the Berserker or to the Petruvian woman wearing the wolfskin who had been whispering in the ear of the Petruvian leader, but it was likely the woman as Toki would have been specific and used ‘berserker’ if he meant Erp. When Toki refused to budge on this, Servius asked the Petruvians to send the woman away, but instead they all left. Spitting and insulting the “ignorant and savage” Northerners, who much to my amazement, did not take the bait and let them leave peacefully. And that’s where we ended it, with the party waiting for Toki to let them into his hut and speak.

My Iron Edda players should stop reading now as I'm going to put comments and plans and plots below...
























***SPOILERS GALORE***

Alright, now that my Iron Edda players are gone (right guys?). So after character creation I asked my players what their first order of business was going to be getting some giant bones for Erp to bond with, which meant going down to talk to Toki. I figured I'd give the PCs some "unworthy" foes to battle, as Iron Edda makes a distinction between between worthy and unworthy opponents resulting in this sweet little move...
Drive Them Before You When you exhibit your prowess against a force of unworthy opponents, you eliminate any number of them, and the GM makes a move against you.
But apparently the players missed or didn't grok my earlier mention of some enemies being unworthy opponents so right away as they realized that there were a bunch of poorly armed and armored Petruvians that they were going to be extra cautious and stealthy and then they'd try and talk their way through this. So... I rolled with it, glancing at the "...And Monsters" section of the old 2e D&D Vikings Campaign Sourcebook that I'd grabbed to use as inspiration, I saw the Hamhleypa, werewolf or shape-leaper entry, and decided that among the Petruvian mooks would be a hamleypa from the holdfast of Bartertown, seeking revenge on the PCs and especially Þorunn, who was established as having led the Petruvians into thinking it was Bartertown that attacked and defeated them, instead of the PCs' home holdfast of Jokilaakso. 

In any case, no matter how I tried to goad or prod the PCs, the players never bit, led by the player of Servius who kept trying to push for talking as a solution. Once that became clear, I let things wrap up, but I've got some ideas for how the next session is going to start... Starting with Erp losing a point of Ferð as he went into his berserker rage and then didn't do anything to release it, like attacking an enemy or destroying something. I also figure that as soon as Toki sees Servius, he's going to slam the door in their faces thinking it's another trap, what with a group of angry Petruvians just having been outside his hut threatening him and now he opens his door to find another one? He will, however, tell the PCs that there are barrows just south of the Elf Woods that contain the burials of two of Ymir's sons, but that he already told a group from the holdfast of Bartertown how to find the giant bones as they came to him looking for help fighting the Petruvians before they march north to exact revenge on the treacherous holdfast of Jokilaaskso that framed them. Then I can have the PCs need to make some hard choices and "Undertake a Perilous Journey" rolls to get to the barrows as quick as they can to find the Bartertown warriors with the giant skeletons...

A few things that I need to remember to do as a GM to start next session...
  • Remind players about unworthy foes.
  • Follow up on a few character creation mistakes (a few playbook choices were interpreted as "and's" instead of "or's").
  • Call out more for the particulars of religious ceremonies and fortune readings when the goði and seiðmann perform them.
  • Have the players expand the mountain range on the map to better show just why the Petruvian legion encampment is such an issue.
Powered by the Apocalypse games encourage GMs to "Leave yourself things to wonder about." so here is a list of what I'm wondering about this game right now...

I WONDER

  • Who is Erp’s father?
  • What is the name of Bjorn’s father?
  • Where a worthy horse would be?
    • Maybe with the fickle elf lord?
  • Why did the Elf Lord Nuallán seduce Jarl Oddrun of Jokilaasko?
  • What do the Frost Giants want?
  • How is Bartertown going to get its revenge?
  • When the PCs will encounter Grimhilde, the Hahleypa next?
  • Will Hosvir Leifson bond with the bones of Ymir's son before the PCs find the barrows?
  • Why are the Petruvians coming so far north in such numbers?

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