[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XVII: The Ice takes its due

A win-try storm does e-ver blow u-pon the heights,
of frost-ed-stone and an-cient cairns and dark-est nights,
That is the do-main of hi-de-ous I-tha-qua,
ab-om-i-na-ble, an-cient, hun-gry I-tha-qua,
And while an-cient tombs hold ri-ches for he-roes new, 
T’is a fool that for-gets that the Ice takes its due.
– The Alexandrine of Winter’s due (Author unknown), dedicated to the Frog God(e)

So it was that our band of heroes, accompanied by the degenerate Ithaqua-worshipping yellow men, did set out for the Great Elevator in the south, with murder on their minds and the legacy of foul deeds in their hearts. Resupplied and healed, they trudged through the valleys and across the snow-covered ridges. It was on the fifth day they encountered the spawn of shub-niggurath Thanaquill, self-proclaimed king of the mountain.

A humanoid horror with hair like seaweed and great, bestial talons, Thanaquill recounted his ambition to conquer the plateau by virtue of his invulnerability and that our heroes and their companions were to be his servants. Expressing some mild protestations, our heroes quickly fell on their knees and pledged their eternal servitude, plotting to follow the creature as it marched upon the tower of the white men that guarded one of the passes to the elevator. Ah las, things were not so easy, for Thanaquil proved to be a trying monarch, demanding they composed ballads to its glory as they marched and forbidding them any rest or food until it decided they had progressed far enough. After 12 hours of gruelling and largely aimless marching, it was decided they had travelled enough that day.

As our heroes finally found a cave, nearing exhaustion, Thanaquil forbade them to make fire to stave off the heat by its divine decree and ordered Kamicollo, time-displaced rogue, to spend the night carving it a throne from the frost-covered granite whilst Ythrak the Ulfire man was to whip him if he faltered for but a second in his labours. Faced with the prospect of backbreaking labour followed by death from exhaustion, Ko gathered Satiros and Sago and their degenerate yellow eskimaux and put their great minds to work.

Going outside, they quickly made fires, using dried dung from the Yellow men. After a while, the fires outside the cavern were raging, to the great perturbation of their newfound liege. It shrieked and ordered the rest of its court to destroy them for their impertinence, which they all refused (Ythrak after several seconds of intense pondering, Kamicollo sullenly and out of breath). Trembling with bottomless rage, Thanaquil attacked, utterly proof against all the spears, axes, swordblows and arrows of the party. As despair overtook them and its razor-sharp tendrils nearly claimed the life of Ko, a single torchblow to the chest felled the mighty creature, who turned out to be not so mighty after all.

And so they moved on, heartened by this mighty victory, bothered only by a similar creature, the hideous flying abomination Kokoxot, who claimed to be Thanaquill’s brother and searching for him. As our heroes waved him several days in the other direction, it abruptly lost interest, asking them if they wanted to trade. While they were willing, the creature was high on promises but low on actually demonstrating it could provide what it promised. More exasperating dialogue was exchanged as the creature offered them a lift down in exchange for gold, which they refused and told it to leave. Thoroughly vexed, both parties parted ways irritably with no consequence to the overall tale.

After 3 more days of travelling across frost-covered peaks and snow-filled passages, they came upon the tower of the white men overlooking the narrow pass. They concocted a brilliant scheme with their yellow conspirators. Our heroes would travel towards the gate whilst the yellow men would climb the cliff under it, crawling upward and joining the offensive once our heroes had attacked the white men by suprise. Everyone nodded enthusiastically, in particular the mighty Ythrak, and our heroes promptly marched towars the gate, greeted its captain and asked to travel onward. The captain, a great white men covered in fur and wearing mighty armour of iron plates and animal horns, did shudder visibly at the sight of the mutant Ko. It was the wise words of Ythrak that swayed him, telling him they had captured a vile creature from the plateau and were seeking to bring it before the chieftain of the White Men, who held sway over the Great Elevator. The captain nodded and promptly gave them a token. At that exact moment, loose stones beneath the tower perturbed them.

As the white men rushed to the edge it waas Ythrak that preceded them and he did proclaim: “Look! Yellow men! They must be planning to sneak past the tower and murder us through ambush!” The rest of the party quickly chimed in and as the spears and rocks reigned down they marked the end of their alliance with the Yellow men. Such is Carcosa.

Onward they travelled, across peaks and through valleys, afore they reached the plateau that held the Citadel of the White Men. A great horned tower, with thick walls of stone stood vigil over the Elevator, a monstrous thing of steel and gears. Our heroes discovered that in order for them to use it, they had to each pay 500 gold pieces, a price they could not afford after having given all that they owed to the rotten-toothed chieftain of the hated Yellow men (now lying broken at the bottom of a cliff, and rightfully so!). Ythrak, however, had a cunning scheme, asking to see the Chieftain. In snow-covered halls where the bodies of yellow men were impaled upon icicles metres high, they met him, a titan banded in brass, with a face covered in a monstrous helmet and a beard stiff with ice and blood, and a pitted iron blade no normal man could lift.

Abandoning all reason or pretence of believability, he laid out his ambitions to defeat the hated Yellow men with the White Men led by the Passion of Circumstance (whom the Chieftain had never heard of), defeat the Yellow Men (a noble ambition) and gather his own troops, Ten Thousand Strong in Full Plate Mail, to take the Plateau for the White men. The Chieftain laughed and ordered them thrown off the cliff.

Sputtering, Ythrak protested as they led him towards the edge with the rest cursing and muttering dejectedly, Kamicollo contemplatively fingering the Alien bomb and Ko giving a very convincing mutant dog performance to the amusement of the GM. Ythrak challenged the Chieftain, Single combat, victory meant free passage, defeat our heroes would be banished and barred from using the elevator forever more. An additional bet was made that Ythrak would last at least 10 rounds in exchange for a single man being allowed to pass. The Chieftain contemplated this and agreed on the condition that failure meant another would be thrown over the cliff. Ythrak nodded and quickly appointed an understandably outraged Kamicollo.

And so they gathered upon the ice, in a ring of torches, armour and weapons being handed to them. The Chieftain chose his weapon, a hand axe, to make things interesting. Ythrak chose his sword and proclaimed that Ko was his creature, and therefore a weapon. The Chieftain nodded grimly, and battle they did. Ythrak defended, parrying the chieftain’s blows, whilst Ko savaged the Chieftain from behind. Grunting, the chieftain killed Ythrak in seven, beheading him with savage efficiency. As he turned around, bleeding from many cuts, Ko pounced for the last time. His sword scarred Ko’s face. Ko’s fangs ripped out his throat. Such is Carcosa.

The White Men were willing to let them pass, but by the pact of ritual combat, Kamicollo had to be thrown off the cliff. Kamicollo had had enough, threw up his hands, cursed and pulled out the device, threatening to blow up the cliff and all his friends if anyone laid a hand on him. The rest of our heroes tried to calm him down somewhat and finally grudgingly supported his case. Eventually it was decided the White Men would throw Ythrak’s body down the cliff and our heroes would tell no one they had broken their word. Fair enough, they said, and within but 5 minutes, they walked on earthen soil once more.

Of their wanderings to the west, not much can be said. Through little trickery, they battled a puddle of inert ulfire ooze by setting fire to it. They came across and avoided villages, stopping at one near the lake to hear the dire proclamations of the emissary of She-of-the-Lake, mighty Sorceress and mistress of three villages, who gazed across the river with hungry eyes. They met the tracker Pharron, exile and thief, and whipped him most outrageously when they discovered the village of purple men they stayed with had a sociopathic hatred and distrust for all Red men. After that they became friends.

They travelled long and they travelled far but the road was, for once, free from major dangers. None were destroyed, though an oath of loyalty was sworn to She-of-the-Lake to avert destruction at the hands of her overly enthusiastic followers. It was quickly forgotten. As they crossed the river a hideous spawn of shub-niggurath sought to feed on their flesh, but it too was repelled violently and claimed nothing but arrows.
With weary eyes and worn sandals our heroes came once more upon the Aerie of the Jale men and met up with their companion, powerful Satiros, who had hired the help of red quadruplets and the jale carpenter Nolin to set course for the Citadel that Waits and plunder its unguarded treasures. But on Carcosa, things are seldom so simple. But that is a tale for another day.

Death toll: 21
[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.
[D] Asuz (Ftr 2): Slain by the Gaze of the Sartoom
[B] Mordak (Ftr 1); Consumed by the Guardian
[A] Ragnar (Sor 1); Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadh Mogh
[B] Ythrak (Ftr 1): Beheaded in honourable single combat with the Lord of the Wastes

Compatriots & Henchmen: 5
Burlap – Cut down by the Master of the Valley.
Sextus (the name of the Green Man) – Dissolved by Dolm Ooze (or Pudding).
Silent One (purple man) – Devoured by the Guardian
Hannibal (ulfire man) – Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadhmogh
Unnamed Purple man – Frozen to death. Eaten by his erstwhile companions
Desertions and betrayals;
4 Brown Men – Deserted because of poor morale and abhorrent treatment.

 

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One thought on “[Actual Play] Lost on Carcosa Pt. XVII: The Ice takes its due

  1. I was wandering alone on the dark plains of post-Teenage Angst, tears uselessly dropping upon the thick layer of my Dream’s ashes (why o why won’t a fully charged battery last even a day ?) when your bitchin’ rhymin’ n’ scanin’ tore the veil of my despair. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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