Sunday, May 7, 2017

Conan 2d20 Gameplay: Welcome to Shem. (Parts 1 and 2)

Wanting to try to focus on some good roleplaying I started a small group campaign. 3 players being my target number. I wanted to focus on a small group to really allow me to tell a really great story with out having to worry to much about a lot of players, but give the small number of players a great chance to roleplay.

Welcome to Shem: Akbitanna


Petrus the young Noble
Ridondo the Merchant
Vlaskoff the Northerner

Welcome to Shem

The story begins with the trio spending some time in Akbitanna, a city in the desert country of Shem; healing up from their current adventures. During their time their, Petrus and Vlaskoff come into contact with some unknown disease, making them feel somewhat weaker then normal.

At this point in time, Akbitanna is in the height of the trading season, with merchants coming from all over to trade their wares, and several festivals of Ishtar are also taking place to celebrate the start of the growing season. The party abounds with in the great walled city.

While enjoying the fruits of their past successes, Petrus manages to offend a powerful local noble; Firth; who is intent in tracking down the foreign noble down and to "Stress" upon him just who is important in the city. Meanwhile, Vlaskoff, only thinking about one thing.. his axe, asks Ridondo to see if he can track a newer axe for him, as his ability to interact with the locals is tenuous at best.

Ridondo, seeing an easy mark. Finds a suitable axe for 4 gold pieces and then sells it to the northerner for a discounted price of 10! The northerner, pays what gold he has and actually owes a debt to the "Merchant"

During their stay in the northern district of Akbitanna, Choga. Petrus finds a patron who is willing to take them in on retainer. They also pick up on some juicy rumors...

  • Powerful traders and merchants are being replaced by cultists.
  • Under the city is an underground lake which is a place filled with ancient treasures and also home of the gods.
  • Women in the city are having a high instance of Still births.
  • The ancient tomb of Sabata is on display in the holy temples in the center of the city
  • The underground consists of 2 levels of ancient sewers, then 2 more levels of  catacombs, the bottom level which has become flooded by the underground river.

The group decided to explore the Chorga district and enjoy the festivities of the locals. "Ishtar" style. They then notice that Firth, is actually in the crowd apparently trying to track down Petrus. Not wasting any time, Petrus pays two of the local followers of Ishtar who are celebrating in the city streets to intercept the man. Its doesnt take long for them to loose site of Firth and he and his guards are distracted and swept up in the festivities.

Acting on some of the rumors, the group decides to visit a district shrine of Ishtar to talk to a priest about some of the issues going on. Trying to convince the priest that something bad is happening to their followers with all the still births in the city; they can help stop it. The priest agrees to this, but only on own condition, if they can "persuade" a local guard Baros, to stop causing trouble with his acolytes in anyway they feel that Ishtar would deem fit. They agree. But while they were having these discussions with the priest, their gold purses were removed from their belongings leaving them desolate. Angered by the breach of trust while in the temple, Petrus storms off, wanting to be compensated by the Ishtar priest, but the cooler head of Ridondo calms him enough to be refocused on their mission.

Travelling north to the city gate, they discover that the guard works the night shift and is not available, they decide to wait. During this time a group of Ishtar worshipers dancing in the street draws the attention of Vlaskoff. While enticed by the dancers, he notices that something is not right and sees a few symbols on them which do not jive with the the cult of Ishtar. It was during this time, one of the dancers slip an item into his pocket with out his knowing it. A while later, the group discover that the markings are actually representing a lesser served god called Derketo.

Ishtar or Derketo dancers?

While waiting for the guard Baros to show his face, they spot Firth and his men again walking into a nearby alley way, bringing with them rather roughly another man. Ricondo decides to climb up onto the roof tops and balconies to see if he can get a better view of the angry noble. He gets himself into such a great spot that he is able to over hear the man and Firth talking. The man, is trying to convince Firth to join with the cult, to ensure he has more power in the city, This seems to anger Firth and he kills the man by driving a dagger up through the jaw of the man, killing him instantly.

While Firth and his men walk away, Ridondo climbs down to search the body but finds nothing of interest on the man, but does find a strange and different marking on the body, something that appears very sinister. Just at that time, Ricondo is spotted by a group of city guards who give chase! Ricondo, like a cat, manages to climb back up onto the balcony and escapes.

Death of a Cultist

After reporting his findings to Petrus and Vlaskoff; the group decides to follow Firth back to his complex in the southern district of Carchemish. When the arrive, they see the only entrance into his house is blocked by a large wooden gate, flanked by two massive looking guards. After trying their "Words" to gain entry, and failing miserably they are forced to try and find another way. But the guards, laughing at them angered Petrus and Vlaskoff. So they decide to try something different.. they draw steel and charge.

Vlaskoff ran towards the wall, and in a bounding leap manages to get purchase on the edge and pulls himself up onto the narrow ledge, The guards first response is to sound the alarm, Ricondo and Petrus move in and engage the guards. Vlaskoff, on top of the wall can see more guards running from inside of the complex; knowing time is short decides to help dispatch the two guards at the gate. With a wild cry, he single handedly kills one guard with a death defying leap off a 10 foot wall, cleaving one man in two. The gore of blood and brains cover Ricondo as he decides to taunt Firth by drawing the symbol found on the dead man on the ground in the blood of dying solider.

Death from above.

Ricondo gets covered with even more blood, as the arterial spray from the first solider continues to spray, getting in his eyes and mouth and he tries to draw the symbol, meanwhile Petrus and Vlaskoff dispatch the last guard. Helping Ricondo to his feet, they flee deeper into the district before more guards can get to the gate. they find a nearby stream of water, and quickly rinse the blood from Ricondo, who's clothes is  now saturated in blood and gore.

Stay tuned for Welcome to Shem: Part 3