Session 1

April 5th, 2012 § 0 comments

Special thanks go to Jesse H. for writing this fantastic recap of our first Clayfinder (Pathfinder) session.

“Convergence” (a quick side apology: I will almost certainly misspell character names until we play a little more)

Morning rose on the village much as it had always done.  Kukaberra birds chattered in the starfruit trees and, by sun up, the village was alive with the normal noise of island life.  Simple Layla went about her morning chores – retrieving fish from the fishing nets, tending to the messenger birds, retrieving her simpler brother from the fishing nets – and reveled in the easy island breeze.  Not long after morning meal, however, there was an excited buzz among the villagers as three strangers wandered into the tiny island town.

The first was a very average-looking human who called himself Kasyc.  He was fair skinned and in the island heat, Layla was sure that his chainmail shirt must have been quite warm.  At least for his sake he appeared to not be wearing any pants.  Following closely behind him was a sturdy dwarf.  He was gruff and seemed weary from either the road or his traveling companions, though probably both.  Layla eventually learned that his name was Thooril Runebeard.  Search as she did, however, she never saw any runes within his beard.  Bringing up the rear of the party was what Layla first thought to be an animated jumble of self-carrying equipment.  The heap of gear, however, eventually showed itself to be haphazardly strapped and bolted onto a very talkative halfling calling himself Pitwick.  Pitwick the Gearheap was very eager to tell his stories to all who would listen.  He was, however, having a hard time finding anyone equally eager to listen to his stories.

The strangers were brought to the center of town and met with one of the town elders, the Motherwife.  With the Motherwife as an audience, Pitwick proceeded to tell – in great detail – of the three strangers’ seven month journey through plains and canyons, across deserts and forests, of every last piece of terrain they had crossed until they had reached the Motherwife’s beach.  The story was exhaustive, and exhausting.

Amidst the commotion with the strangers’ arrival, Quinso returned to his village with his own visitors in tow.  Quinso was somewhat of an outsider in his own village.  His albino skin and white hair set him apart from the sun-bronzed people who lived on the beach of the jungle kingdom.  Even simple Layla with her muddled thoughts and simpler brother found his appearance sometimes off-putting, due in no small part to the large ceremonial scar carved into his chest.  The pink scar tissue stood out like a brand on Quinso’s pale flesh.  The scarification, however shocking, was also the mark that identified him as one of the most important members of the tribe, and so Quinso was respected by all of the beach-dwelling villagers.

Alongside Quinso was the dark-skinned half-elf Little Paw.  Little Paw was clearly a child of the jungle forests.  Her hair was bedecked with feathers and beads.  Her clothing seemed to be made of leaves.  A paw-shaped marking on her face was clearly the source of her name.  Following dutifully behind her was her companion, Brother, a large yet docile brown bear.

Quinso and Little Paw arrived at the village and were greeted by Layla who recounted the arrival of the three strangers.  Quinso had a brief discussion with his Motherwife about Little Paw, though the Motherwife was suspicious.  Quinso was clearly hiding something about her and Brother, but his cagey answers weren’t giving away any secrets yet.  Together with the strangers, the group headed inside Quinso and the Motherwife’s longhouse to chat.  Not long after, however, Layla came running up from the beach.

“A large square creature approaches from the water!” she cried.  The group took to their feet and ran to the door.

“That’s a ship, Layla,” said Quinso.  “That’s an enormous ship.  Larger than anything we’ve ever seen before.”  Without hesitation, Quinso gave the order for the canoes to row out and greet the third batch of strangers arriving that day.  The group exited the longhouse and strode down to the beach.  Quinso approached a fishing net and proceeded to toss fish to the appreciative paws and jaws of Brother.

Onboard the Nightwish, Prince Derrik van Nara stood boldly at the prow of the ship, taking in the view of the small jungle village as it grew larger and larger with each passing moment.  At his side was Aurum Carix, the white-haired elven ambassador, and Silas Timrin, the ambassador’s stern bodyguard.  Silas’ black leather armor was an imposing contrast beside the royal vestments of Prince Derrik.  After a brief conversation with Captain Barrett, the captain, the prince, the ambassador, the bodyguard, and three of the ship’s crew boarded lifeboats and set sail for shore.  Guided by the villagers’ canoes, the royal lifeboats docked astride the long pier.  The new visitors strode brazenly onto the beach.

“Good morrow!” the Prince announced loudly to the group gathered before him.  “Might I please have words with your chieftan?”

“I’m … the chieftan.” The claim came from tiny Pitwick.  Young, naive, and a stranger as he was, Prince Derrik unfortunately believed the halfling’s lies.  He listened intently as Pitwick spun an elaborate yarn involving Mooril the staff-guarding dwarf and a detailed life history for Little Paw, all while Thooril and Little Paw stood by shaking their heads in disagreement.  After much longer than it should have taken the Prince, Ambassador Carix pulled the young prince aside and let him know that Pitwick was most likely lying.  It wasn’t until that point that Quinso stopped feeding fish to Brother and approached as one of the elder representatives of the tribe.

At Quinso’s inquiry, Prince Derrik explained how he, Carix, and Silas had been sent on a journey because of a vision that had been foretold long ago in his homeland.  The vision had told of a visit to the land of Nara by two elven dignitaries and how they would join the land’s prince is a long voyage out across the seas, out beyond the edges of the known world, to a distant jungle land.  In that jungle, they would find a foreboding temple and in that temple they would find a powerful artifact.  The prince and the elves were to retrieve the artifact and return it to the King of Nara.  Much to the Prince’s amazement, Quinso and his Motherwife both knew exactly what temple he was talking about.  Unfortunately, they also informed him that it had been the site of a tremendous battle between good and evil.  Savaged by winged demons, the temple and the tribe’s most valiant warriors – including Quinso’s father – had been swallowed up by the earth in a huge sinkhole nearly a decade ago.

“Plenty of things go into the great hole,” Quinso said. “But hardly anything ever comes out.”  Serious as he may have been, there was much giggling on the beach at Quinso’s choice of words.

The elves and the prince decided that they would set off the next morning for the site of the sinkhole under the direction of Quinso.  With seemingly little else to keep them busy, Kasyc, Runebeard, Pitwick, Little Paw, and Brother also agreed to tag along and explore the Great Hole.  In the meanwhile, Quinso’s Motherwife decided that a feast was in order to celebrate the arrival of their three sets of visitors.  As the feast began and the tribe entertained the visitors with a wild performance of tribal drumming, Pitwick produced a hurdy-gurdy and proceeded to jam endlessly on the only short riff he knew.  As the halfling bard “entertained,” Prince Derrik accompanied on a fine wooden recorder.  Eventually everyone retired for the night and slept.

When morning came to the little fishing village, the group set off.  Their journey was accompanied by a discussion about religion between Quinso, Carix, and Prince Derrik as well as a seemingly inexhaustible well of stories from Pitwick.  They marched all day through jungle and forest along an overgrown path that had once been clear and easily passable.  When night fell, rotating guard shifts were established, but the night passed uneventfully.

The next day saw more walking, but by midday the group had exited the wooded jungle and were marching across a flat grassy plain.  The further the party went, the more dead the grass of the plain looked.  Eventually, as dry brown grass crunched beneath their boots, the group arrived at the edge of an enormous dark sinkhole.  It was more than 40 somethings across (I forget what unit of measurement Clay used) and seemed bottomless as its walls disappeared into a murky expanse of blackness.  Thooril picked up a rock and tossed it into the hole, but it quickly disappeared from sight and no one heard it land.  The entire nature of the hole was unnerving, so much so that roughly half of the group seemed very upset by it.  Perhaps none were more upset by it, though, than Brother who refused to go near its edge.  The group found that a series of stakes and ropes had been driven into the ground over time, all of them leading over the edge and down into the hole itself.

After a bit of debate, the group decided to follow the ropes of those who had come before them.  The only concern was how to lower down Brother.  Little Paw, however, waved her hands and quarterstaff in arcane patterns, and soon the dead grass and leaves of the plain swirled into a small tornado until they took the form of a baby elephant.  With the assisted strength of the summoned elephant, Brother was put into a makeshift harness and lowered into the hole.  One by one, the group descended into the hole only to find that the darkness was only an illusory veil.  Once the party members slipped past the veil of darkness, they could see that the bottom of the hole was a plain strewn with bones and bathed in purple light.

As the last party member descended down the rope, the curtain fell for the evening…

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