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Beasts & Barbarians actual play: session 2

The story starts where the previous session ended. Doris, Falchor and Godzul have been jailed for drunken hooliganism, and Tereis had been carousing elsewhere, surprisingly having not got into this big trouble. This shows an excellent example of how after adventure partying can set up the next adventure!

New characters

Kylis TaverenKylis Taveren, A borderlander noble who had left on a hunting trip with his step-brother and two officers, and then woken up in a forest. Badly hurt, he stumbled upon bronze -skinned men who promised to help him, put him in chains and brought to Caldeia - some local nobles appreciate having former nobles as their servants. Kylis wasn't really co-operative, so he was sent to arena, where he made a plan and escaped with a group of other captives.

Now he's travelling back to borderlands with his new friends to see what's going on there.

WürfulWürful, a northlander barbarian who's life Kylis once saved, after which Würful has been loyal bodyguard of Kylis. He was barely a man when everyone in his home village was killed, and he is going to avenge the murderers one day.

A note about the character notes and miniatures: These character descriptions will be moved to the index page of the campaign when I create such. Kylis was represented by a different miniature until the the second battle of the session, Würful's miniature was changed to this one after the session.

The game starts

Doris and Falchor start to wake up in horrible hangover, Godzul still being floating on the seas of intoxication. Doris hears a distantly familiar voice from stairs saying "Well of course we help our friends - if these are the ones you are looking for they are all yours!". A handsome scroundler -looking man enters the room, followed by a group of Caldeian soldiers lead by a captain, who starts to grin evilly. This pirate captain Korr changes a few words with Doris - the woman who had been second mate on a large merchant ship when the Korr's pirate ship captured it. Doris ended up together with the pirate captain and sailed around with his crew until she had had enough of constant arguements, took a chest of gold and left the ship in darkness and bought a boat of his own. This scoundrel - who currently happens to be the ruler of Teyerana - politely apologized what he needs to do and left, and aided by jail guards, Caldieans start to bring their new prisoners up the stairs to the street, where they would have more room to put the chains.

In the meantime, Lord Kylis sees a thoughtful lord coming out of the brig where Kylis had tracked his companions. After a few words, the pirate sees his chance and tells the lord that he can free his friends if he's capable enough with his sword, just asking him to let one soldier flee. Then he sends the brig guards to investigate disturbance nearby. The disturbance was solved a bit too fast, and it was causes by three thugs assaulting a northern barbarian Würful - who happens to be loyal bodyguard of Kylis. He had travelled towards Caldeia after realizing Kylis had been kidnapped by Caldeian slavers. Pirate captain ordered the guards to investigate another disturbance further away, leaving the noble and his bodyguard to ambush Caldeians climbing up the stairs.

Freeing the prisoners

Apparently, the Pirate ruler of the city wants to appear friendly towards powerful and dangerous Caldieans but still didn't want to the people in his brig to end up into their hands.

To the desert

Würful proved his might in the following battle, where the Caldeian captain + 8 soldiers were quickly slain, one being allowed to escape as asked. After hearing that Caldieans are quite pissed off and there's other ships at the sea too, the group decided to buy a cart with a horse and travel using desert routes for a while. In the middle of the night, after a few hours of travelling, the heroes hear some noise, which they soon recognize as a group of horses, and see a young woman in light clothing running from behind a dune. They decide to protect the woman, try to make the emerged group of Iron Hawk mercenaries to back off, who in turn demand the girl for themselves. The mounter warriors soon run out of patience and attack.

Desert encounter with mercenary cavalry; Doris encounters the mercenary leader

Desert encounter with mercenary cavalry; Kylis charges in
Falchor was left out of these both pics, he's hiding behind the rock formation at the bottom of the picture. Kylis's miniature was switched from Boromir (in the first battle) into Mercenary general after I mentioned that the curse of Sean Bean might extend to the characters that use a miniature who's been modelled after Sean's character... 

Another fight had began, and the heroes first feel to be at disadvantage. Still, they slay the mercenaries after initial difficulties. Falchor's arrow, boosted by an adventure card, deals a heavy hit to the mercenary leader that drains him from his bennies and leaves him with one wound. A charging mercenary soldier then deals ~20 damage to Falchor, leaving him still wounded after soaking and engaged in melee, unable to use his bow. Fortunately, he could kill the mounted brute together with his falcon, while the others were able to gang up on the mercenaries and backstab them so that they couldn't benefit from their shields.

Towards the mercenary fort

Once the girl could speak again after a few minutes of panting, she told that she had been captive in a small jungle fort few hours away from their current location. From her story and mercenary centurion's boasting (encouraged by an adventure card) the heroes learn that the fort belongs to a mercenary general who had been kidnapping rich and influential people's daughters because of an order of a sorcerer. But apparently he's got plans of his own too, and he's extorting the parents of the kidnapped girls and is planning to conquer a town in the area, possibly Teyerana.

There was a lot of arguement about what to do - to continue north-east, return to Teyerana, go to the fort, or continue north-east and send the lone very lightly dressed girl to Teyerana alone - through the desert in the middle of the night - so she could tell his father that the nobles must send a collective army to the fort. But Kylis thought of the nobles he knew, and realized that the girl's father is apparently an intriguing man who'd likely to be celebrating the return of his daughter back while the other nobles are missing theirs, so the last idea was ignored. Some more arguement, and the group followed the tracks to the jungle - the jungle is on the edge of the desert and seems to be a kind of oasis. 

It was still night although the dawn was closing, and the group saw a wooden palisade on the hill and a camouflaged tower in the middle of it. They had also heard that in the middle of the area is a wooden wall area holding a moderately large amount of slaves, and on the other end of the area is an ancient temple, where the general lives and the other girls are also held. The runaway had also told that she had guesstimated there being some 30 soldiers, and there probably is a larger army on it's way to the fort. The heroes watched a patrol moving up the hill along the road, moving in the fort and then another patrol coming down a bit later. What they didn't notice is the group turned towards them, and suddenly emerged from the thick vegetation right next to them...

Afterthoughts (studying Savage Worlds)

I'm still pretty new with Savage Worlds, and this is only the second non-modern Savage Worlds session for myself. Some of the fights have been slower than I expected, but they've been fun nevertheless. It's easy (and often wise) for combatants to do normal attacks, but I still find myself doing combats a bit too boringly. I want to find more imaginative ways of fighting, both descriptionwise and mechanicswise. To be able to use mechanics better, and to help players to do that as well, I've already created an improved Combat cheat sheet I've printed a few copies of.

More notes - while mounts make enemies dangerous, as they're able to move fast and do powerful charges,heavy shields proved even stronger element. An experienced warrior with fighting d8 and heavy shield has parry of 8, and even for a character with fighting d10 this number isn't easy to hit. Ganging up and flanking helped a lot, but smarts/agility tricks or tests of will (initmidate, taunt) weren't used much - this is something I need to improve myself too. And while players might find using heavy shields tempting, only one has enough strength to carry one is using any kind of armor, and he's a barbarian using a two-handed weapon.

And one more note - the next session is going to be great. I know it :)


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