Casting Runes 6: A Season for All Things – Session 19 Recap

This post continues the exploration and implementation of RuneQuest 6th Edition in a sword and sorcery campaign setting. This session focused on dealing with the wounded and trying to find a safe way out of the suspected Temple of Water before Reptilian reinforcements arrived.

Check the list of links below for the recaps of the previous sessions, and other related articles on this campaign. Less-detailed video recaps are also available on my YouTube Channel.

Session 19 was spent below ground in what the characters now suspect is one of the temples they believe has been robbed of its treasure by the servants of Chaos. They believe that this site housed the Runestone of Water, but see that it has been overrun by the Reptilians.

Problems  & Solutions:

We had a good assortment of issues this week. We had connectivity issues, we had app failure from DiceStream, and we had a player we knew would be late end up missing the session. As a result of all of these things, although we had the session running for 3 hours, we did not accomplish much. I cannot put all of the blame for that on our technical issues though, as in hindsight I feel that the pace ultimately lagged because I was not doing what was required to allow things to progress faster. It was a ‘bad GM’ day.

For solutions, although I like DiceStream for the most part, I am thinking I just want to use real dice from here on out. There comes a time when enough is enough, and this may be that time where dice apps are concerned. For my own part, while the expectation that the missing player was ‘due any minute’ definitely had an impact on how I approached setting the scenes, a larger part was having an off day. The recap started in an out-of-character tone of GM to player, not narration to inspire portrayal of the character, and a lot of the description was purely mechanical or using real world referents rather than in-game ones. Considering the scenes we had to play, it was far too casual and far too OoC to flow. In preparation for next week, I will be reading over past recaps, getting myself psyched up about the characters, have a set of bookmarks prepared for things which might take me off-track, and a simple flow chart of villain tactics for the engagement we will be starting the next session with…

Thoughts on Running the Game:

This session was again mostly IC interaction during another, less-effective round of healing, and the search for the way out. Light was becoming a problem, but more importantly proper care of the wounded was critical. While it seemed as though everyone was stabilized, only Turged could see, and he is not the group’s most proficient healer. I liked this, actually. Managing such mundane resources and having to make the choice between furthering their goals and saving their own lives is not something I have been a part of for a good long time. Seeing the struggle evident in the player, and played out through Turged was gratifying, and I was relieved for the group of characters when the decision was firmly made to seek a way out.

That only left worry and anticipation over which route would they take…?

Session Nineteen: Rocks and Hard Places

This session was run on a Saturday afternoon, with only one player present. It was a slow session with good humor but far too much OoC banter (my fault). It did, however, manage to delve deeply into the notes and lore of the year+ long campaign to reground Turged’s player in ‘things of vital importance.’

We are looking for a third player who can join us for this leg of the campaign, and then hopefully transition with us into running Mythic Britain. We play on Saturday afternoons from 2pm to 6pm (GMT+9).

The Session

The session began right where we left off in the previous session, with a lengthy recap, and discussion of points of importance leading up to this situation.

We resumed not far from the scene of battle, in the group’s makeshift camp under the towering spiral staircase, the precisely-butchered and skinned carcass of the giant lizard and the wide canal of chilling water were off to one side in the darkness, while the decapitated corpse of the Reptilian sorcerer was left off by the temple wall to rot in peace.

Session Recap:

  • Duke Vonge, Lord Tan, and Gorwyn were all wounded, and each knew that his wounds would take weeks to heal (RQ6 p.121). Turged, likewise injured but less-so, and much less talkative about it, found himself the one on whom the others were relying. With only one torch left and being hoarded for later, only he could navigate in the total darkness of this place with any confidence. Gorwyn’s arm was mostly useless, Tan was in agony with his head wound, and the Duke found movement painful. Discussion between Turged and the Duke ruled trying to ascend the staircase out. It was too demanding physically, had already claimed one of their number, and their ropes has seen some very hard use in the last day – including being completely soaked – and so perhaps should not be trusted. Gorwyn was obsessed with trying to figure out how the riding lizard had gotten in, but was close to passing out from fatigue, so that conversation went nowhere. Likewise, neither the Duke nor Tan wanted to discuss theories about the secret passage they found, but they were certain there were more of them. With everyone in a bad mood and in great discomfort, Turged helped them with their bedrolls and had everyone settle in for a good rest. The darkness might be a problem in other things, but in a world with a sun that never sets, it was a relief to seek sleep here under the mountain. While they rested, Turged did his best to remain awake and on guard. He looked more closely at the body of the sorcerer, but learned nothing new. The Reptilian had many marks of violence and age on his body, much like his steed had, but that was it. In death, he carried even more mystery than in life. On the wall behind him though was the small, but recognizable rune for water. Carved in an out of the way place, almost like graffiti or an afterthought, the rune reminded Turged of the Temple of Stasis in the Desert, and how it was arranged… how its walls looked…  with fresh eyes he began to look about himself and noted that the stone slabs on the wall were missing here, and that the same milky jade was what the sorcerer had been leaning against. In the darkness and the heat of combat he had not noted the significance of that difference, but now he began to trace the passage of this wall. He did not need to go far before he found the slabs of stone which had been removed to expose this section of what he now understood to be the original wall of the temple. Four large slabs had been freed from the wall and set carefully to one side. Was it just to expose the rune of water? When had it happened? How many ‘men’ had it taken to move such large slabs of stone and place them neatly to the side, undamaged?
  • The group was roused from slumber by a tired Turged (Fatigue level, Winded to Tired, RQ6, p120) and thanks to their many hours of rest were feeling more positive and capable. There was less talk of injury and more talk of finding their way out. Seeing how drained Turged looked, the Duke took him aside and made sure he ate some of the strips of lizard while they were still fresh, and drank enough water. While the Plenthan ate, the Duke asked about the temple in the desert, about the opposition they had faced there, and about their experience with the Reptilians in the High Temple. Turged realized that there was much that the Duke did not know, including the vast Sunless Sea and its suspected tie to these servants of Chaos and so filled the man in. As he spoke, he recognized that much of whatever character this place had had, from its altars and its very walls and floor had been systematically erased by someone – the Reptilians presumably; covered up, and re-purposed. As they spoke, the Duke’s questions made him realize that while the Keystone may have been stolen from its temple, thereby waking the Chaos Dragon, that did not necessarily mean that the same was done here. The impossible rush and coldness of the water spoke volumes as untold volumes of water blasted through the canal each passing moment. Regardless, a search of the temple meant more risks, and with a look at Gorwyn and a sudden memory of finding the young man’s patron boiling alive as a thin paste of melted flesh, Turged committed the group to finding a way out. With the group fed and awake, Turged called forth a comforting light from his shield by uttering a prayer of his people [Folk Magic, Light, RQ 6 p.191]. In his tiredness, the light would occasionally flicker and dim as his attention wandered, but with the light came a sense of safety, as though Plenth himself, or Ael as the humans know him,  was looking in on them.
  • It was decided that they wanted to head upstream to seek out the source of the water, or failing that a way out. With Turged in the lead and Gorwyn taking up the rear behind Tan the group crossed back to the other side of the temple and from the tiny arch under which entered the water, began to look for alternate means of access and egress. It was not long before they found one, a panel of stone, held in place by something other than mortar. As they looked for a way to open it, Turged demanded to see the other secret passage again. Making their way to the corner of the room, they reopened the door and Turged could finally see the split tunnels for himself. The lords once again stated that they could not be sure when these tunnels had last been used (Track, RQ p75, letting the original fail ride) just that they both had been, and by several sets of boots, much like those worn by the sorcerer. The tunnels were natural, and looking back at the wall of the temple the familiar jade of the other temple was evident. Somehow, this temple was built inside a cavern inside the mountain, not much bigger than its walls. They could follow a tunnel away from the temple, or one leading along one of its walls. Gorwyn’s sense of magical emanations (Awareness, RQ6 p226) was quiet (radius 9m). Needing to regain the surface, and noting a slight incline to the passage leading away from the temple, not to mention its parallel course with the canal inside the chamber, they decided that was the route to take.
  • They walked with Turged’s light leading the way, and found the tunnel wide and high enough to allow them comfortable passage. As they walked, the Duke and Turged discussed their feelings that most of the tunnel was natural [Lore – Stoneworking, RQ p.72], but had been widened in places to allow ease of access. Turged added he felt the tunnel had been carved out by the passage of water. This revelation made the Duke uneasy. After a time of silence, they tunnel ceased its upward incline and began a downward one. In short order a sound as of softly flowing water began to echo around them, and hints of natural phosphorescence – very familiar to Turged – could be made out ahead. Without much warning in the shadows cast by the light of Turged’s shield, they came out onto a downward sloping ledge above a large, roughly oval cavern with a pool filling most of its floor, moss-covered stones emitting the phosphorescence, and a glittering waterfall at the rear spilling down the wall which would be oriented toward the temple. As their eyes adjusted, a dart hit the wall next to Turged’s face and its sharp stone tip shattered. Losing concentration, his mystic light went out, but there was enough illumination for the group to seek cover along the edge of the ledge and seek signs of their attackers. The Duke readied his axe, and Tan his hurlbats. Gorwyn dropped back and began to clear his mind to prepare for the violence to come [formidable natural weapons, RQ6, p226]
  • The cavern below showed them shadowy figures, not at all like the Reptilian they had just vanquished, but perhaps related in some way… perhaps not. Two were rising from the pool and three more were strung out along its edge in sentry positions. Long and strangely bent of leg, with broad chests, short arms, and wide, seemingly neckless heads, their ambushers appeared able to leap great distances, and strike with powerful blows. The three in sentry positions, however, filled their lungs with air, massively stretching and distending the flesh of their cheeks and necks to send more darts their way through blowguns with tremendous force [blow dart, 1d2, Size S, impale, see ranged gear for comparison in RQ6, p98]. Each of the three sentries hit their targets, leaving only Gorwyn untouched. Turged was struck in the face, and he immediately felt the sting of a toxin setting it aflame with agonizing pain [ Poison, Agony RQ6, p113: Injected, immediate onset, skills using affected area capped at Willpower; as Turged was hit in the head, this will affect all his skills from the next Round]. The Duke was struck in his wounded leg, and Tan was hit in his left arm. Each gasped in pain at the toxin’s initial bite, but none knows what agony lies in store for them as it enters their bloodstream. Each dart struck deep [Impale, and did full damage to each victim] and will be difficult to remove. In these same instants of attack, the group was scanning the dim greenish glow below to discern the locations of their foes. Turged noted one figure, much more like the Reptilians he had met, seated on something in the middle of the pool. The sentries rising from the pool were moving away from this figure to enter the fight against the intruders. In total, six – including the seated figure – seemed to oppose them. His heart sinking as he assessed the odds, Turged focused himself with word and gesture and took to the walls to rush the enemy by an unexpected vector (Mysticism, Adhesion, RQ6 p. 226]. Tan, feeling his left arm erupting in pain, hurled an axe with his right as far and hard as he could, striking the nearest sentry in the thick meat of its upper left arm and sticking there, sending it reeling [SE: Impale ruled appropriate here for the weapon type, RQ6 p.98].


Session Twenty:

The twentieth session recap will deal with the outcome of this ambush above the phosphorescent cavern’s placid pool…

Stay tuned~

Session Recaps

3 Responses to “Casting Runes 6: A Season for All Things – Session 19 Recap”
  1. Murderbunny says:

    Oooh, yikes… I fear the next session will end in a TPK…

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