[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XII: Of Rivers, Gambits, Armies, Pillars.

(Kingsday so hungover. Small glass fragment from filthy bar-floor turned impromptu mosh pit embedded in left hand. Overall a satisfactory experience. Prince loves you all.)

In the maze-like canyons of the Great River they waited, our heroes and their white wards. Nursing wounds old and new and grudges even older. It was with smiles that they discovered the buried treasure of the impetuous and cowardly Ulfire brigands and helped themselves to their coin, rations and equipment, loading them atop the barge. Satiros was regarded with distrust and hatred, for his cowardice during the battle was not easily forgotten by the White people, notorious for their grudgebearing and vengeful attitudes.

It was on the second day that our heroes witnessed a momentous event. Upon the pebbled shore, there did wash a great mutated plesiosaur, its six eyes like amber, its teeth like daggers. Our heroes hesitated to approach it, for it was angry and snarling, its great teeth ripping great chunks of flesh from its hide. It was Ragnar who rallied the white men, ordering ropes to be brought so the creature’s long neck could be restrained and it could be approached safely, for it seemed some hideous terror was assaulting the creature from inside. For a while they waited and proceeded so, as the creature thrashed about, murderous rage drenching every inch of the life that fled from it. Brave as always, Asuz leapt forward to hold down the creature’s neck, taking injury in the process, while Satiros carved it open with great, heaving blows of his curved blade. Contained inside was a loin-cloathed Purple man, who spoke nor uttered a sound till the day he would leave Carcosa, which on Carcosa was not far off, and he followed Satiros everywhere from that moment onward and would serve him well until his tragic end. And thus they dubbed him the Silent One.

And on the fifth day of their long respite, when all injuries where nearly mended and minds were put at ease, there came upon them a creature from atop the cliff. A strange blend of vegetable and animal, it regarded the refugees with five hungry eyes and asked telepathically that our heroes hand over a single child in exchange for great knowledge of Carcosa. Our heroes, with some trepidation, ordered the understandably alarmed white men to stand down, whilst Mordak argued in hushed whisperings laden with opportunistic greed and the contempt for human life that is the natural disposition of the cannibal that they should hand over the child, for the secrets did sound appetising. The rest argued the merits of the secrets but soon agreed that they could spare one child, and Ragnar did move towards the tribe Elder and convinced him that many more of the creatures lurked nearby, and they could spare one child, for he was slow of wit and dull of spirit. In despair, the Elder agreed.

But before the creature could wrap its fronds over the child, coat him in red ichor and carry him off to fates unknown, cunning Satiros devised a scheme. Using his precognitive powers, he peered beyond the mists of time and plucked from them the secret that the creature was about to reveal in exchange for the promised child. And lo they mentioned, before the creature had but said a word, that they already knew of the army held in suspended animation in the dungeon of the Citadel that Waits. Throbbing with barely contained murder-lust, the creature yielded yet another secret, the location of a great throne of bone upon which perched an ancient Dolm Worm wearing a strange circlet. To the distraught muttering of the refugees, the creature departed, its bounty in tow.

They pressed on, alighting in the river-spanning slaver stronghold of the Blue Men a day later. But they were not alone. It seemed the vicious and hated Ulfire Slavers, lapdogs of that accursed city of sorcerers that too is named Carcosa, had arrived also, looking for slaves. The Blue Men were of course happy to see our noble heroes, promptly offering to buy the white people off them, especially the women. Ragnar did attempt a convincing lecture on the many merits and benefits of the life of a slave but the White men were not having any of it, damaging his reputation. He did purchase for himself a Green Man adept in the arts martial and six Brown men, which were subsequently set “free” under pressure from the white people, who hated slavery.

This was, sadly, not the end of the their troubles. For the Ulfire men too wanted to purchase the white men, and they were most insistant indeed. Dressed in furs, mail and leather caps they accosted poor Mordak, charged with guarding the white people whilst the rest did shopping, for with the sale of the barges (to the Embrace of Regret himself!) and the goods and treasure taken from the Ulfire bandits they were quite wealthy. Ah las, the wits of Poor Mordak were not quick enough for the wits of the Slaver captain, and thus he more or less denied responsibility and referred to his superior, who was to be contacted in the evening. Our heroes displayed increasingly characteristic foresight and hired mercenaries to guard the white people from harassment at the hands of these ruffians, who were promptly repelled without violence when they rejected their offer.

Ah las, Ragnar decided to take the matter before the local authorities, a spectacularly unwise decision, given the fact there was no evidence of wrongdoing and the argument soon degenerated into both parties accusing eachother of all manner of increasingly inventive and fantastical crimes. Fed up with their nonsense, the captain of the guard simply ordered one white man from the hero’s party and one ulfire man from the slavers to be flayed at dawn. Sago the Red proposed simply purchasing a white slave and sending him to be flayed, to which the rest acceded promptly. The next day, a white slave and a gagged ulfire traveller who had no affiliation with the Slavers were flayed for pestering the captain of the guard. Such is life on Carcosa.

They travelled onward across land, abandoning plans of sabotaging the barges of the Ulfire men. Avoiding death at the hands of one of the many varieties of ooze, they eventually made their way back to the village by the river, winning much favour from the Passion of Circumstance, or as they like to call him, that ‘little shit.’ And there was much rejoicing and the division of xp.

Drunk on glory, gold and slaughter and heedless of the contempt of their wards, who had by now wholly discovered the true character of our heroes, they asked to join the Passion of Circumstance in his war against The Ulfire Men (a different tribe of hostile Ulfire Men, entirely unrelated to the Slavers). Both sides had been warring bitterly over the possesion of a great iron Pillar, 100 m high, possesion of which was said to grant some nebulous and unspecified boon of terrible potency upon the possesor. Ragnar naturally assumed the Passion of Circumstance wanted it to help bring civilisation and order to Carcosa, and to rid it of Sky Daemons and Old Ones. The Passion of Circumstance replied that he wanted it because it would make him more powerful and allow him to crush his enemies.

Our heroes faced a difficult challenge, for though the White Men were well-armed with Space Alien weaponry, the Ulfire men outnumbered them and were led by a powerful and cunning warrior-chieftain. It was decided our heroes would set out for the Citadel that held the army, seen in the visions of the Spawn of Nyarlathotep, and claim it for the white men. They had until the next full moon, when the Pillar would once more be contested, for the Pillar could not be safely approached during another time.

Re-equipped and still accompanied by their brown men, they set out for the ominously titled Citadel that Waits, their backpacks bulging with rations that were freely given by the white men. They set off full of good spirit, forgetting that Carcosa can be generous, but never for long and never to fools. It was by the urging of Asuz that they attacked the strange ooze creature that they encountered, and by Asuz’s urging they did, employing huge amounts of burning oil. Ah las, it went well until it did not, for the ooze managed to consume and slay the green man before it was burned down. Our heroes wisely decided to avoid a patrol of Space Aliens (the Sky Daemons!) and a trio of dolm worms before arriving in the valley that held that terrible holdfast, where time stops or runs like water, that drinks the lives of men and binds their spirits for all eternity. The Citadel that Waits!

Death toll: 17
[A] Rohnan (Specialist 1): Eaten by giant spiders
[B] Jaxxon Windwaker (Ftr 1) :  Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[C] Mongo the Red (Sor 1) :  Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[B] Klak (Specialist 1) : Skull crushed by Animate Snake-man statue
[B] Kristal (Ftr 1): Drowned in Quicksand
[D] Kakarot (Sor 1): Beheaded by Jale Berserker
[A] Midros (Sor 1): Bissected by Jale chieftain
[E] T’Click (Spec 1): Butchered by treacherous Ulfire men
[B] Kris (Spec 1): Gutted by Elite Yellow Temple Guardian
[D] Rake (Ftr 1): Devoured by Dolm Worm
[A] Sayeed (Ftr 1): Drowned in the Great River to be food for the creatures below
[A] Ronaan (Spec 1): Beheaded by the mighty Bone man champion in honourable single combat
[B] Jahlin (Spec 1): Taken by the invisble horror of the Great Canyon
[A] Menon (Spec 1) : Cut down by the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers
[B] Sarumon (Ftr 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master.
[E] Speaker to Animals (Sor 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master. Body Slain by Tellurium Beam Weapon.
[B] Hannibal (Ftr 1): Perished by the harsh clime and dangerous climb of the Tsaggasoth Peaks.

Compatriots & Henchmen: 2
Burlap – Cut down by the Master of the Valley.
The Unnamed Green Man – Dissolved by Dolm Ooze (or Pudding).

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2 thoughts on “[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XII: Of Rivers, Gambits, Armies, Pillars.

  1. Buying slaves to be flayed for pestering the Captain of the Guard. Well done. They seem to be taking this murderhobo thing to the next level.

    Such is Carcossa

    Like

    1. I have attempted, through the twin cudgels of character death and equipment loss, to instill some manner of foresight, caution, daring and cunning into my formerly guileless players, with decidedly positive results. The results may be found in my next installment, wherein I created a dungeon with the very real possibilty of the glorious TPK and they managed to foil the worst of its many adversities with only two deaths, one of which was, in the strictest sense, unneccessairy.

      Psychic powers help…a lot.

      Like

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