Summary of sessions 2 and 3: (dudefest)

-Some stuff happened.
-Everyone died.

Let me know if you need a tl;dr version.

Summary of session 1:

-Heroes escaped from riot in arena in Wolfrun.
-Driven by the immediate need to avoid soldiers loyal to Odo Whitescar, the group took refuge together in the forest.
-Kormirite prophet Naro Heartreader approached the group with a request to help eradicate a pit of pestilence spreading plague throughout the region.  The group eventually agreed.
-At the pit, the group fought off a group of plantimals/vegezombies and bought Naro enough time to perform a cleansing ritual that destroyed the pit.
-Then they killed Naro because reasons.
-Finally, the group was brought before the shaman Breeder Elia who expressed great anger at the desecration of all her hard work for "the Vital".  However, faced with an unrepentant group of individuals with a demonstrated tendency for violence, Elia's anger at present has been rendered largely impotent.


Odo Whitescar, the brutal and ambitious warlord, has been conquering territory with his Kulani tribesmen at a rapid pace.  Because of pressures on their previous lands of which the local people are unaware, virtually the entire Kulani nation is migrating along the northern coast, into rough and mountainous regions which were unused to foreign meddling.  The latest tribe in their path isare the Bureem, who are much less numerous and less warlike.

When the Kulani have a distressing habit of appointing only their own to positions of power.  They also lay a heavy tax burden on local populations to help support further conquests and administration of the growing Kulani state.  So it is with the unhappy community of Wolfrun, once a proud city which has seen one too many warring tribes come through, sack the town, and leave the residents to rebuild as best they can.

Ugly rumors are sprouting in Wolfrun's corners and back-alleys.  Odo Whitescar's local underling, Bruzh, has decided that something needs to be done to improve the populace's mood and feels that a display of Kulani might and superiority is just the thing to placate them.  Sumptuous games have been planned in Wolfrun's crumbling arena (a holdover from better days).  The headliner is a heavily scarred brute known in the arena as the Bonegrinder.

The player characters will also be present for these games, for reasons explained below (by you guys).  Your characters may or may not have any have any previous association.

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Lethality--how serious?

Forgiving: winners decide what happens to incapacitated characters (unlikely that you'll die unless the whole party wipes)
Harsh: opponents decide what happens to incapacitated characters (your character could still die even if the party wins the confrontation)
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RM Heritage cast list:

Player characters:
??? -- slave trader (Brian)
Sango -- ghast hunter (Bene)
Lenk -- escaped pit fighter (Dan)
??? -- necromancer/cleric (James)
??? -- shamanic warrior (John)
Abner Barleyshanks -- knight errant / plunderer (Naa)

Non-player characters:
Odo Whitescar--Kulani warlord
Bruzh--Odo's local lieutenant in Wolfrun
Naro Heartreader--Kormirite seer
Breeder Elia--priestess of the Vital

Empeno Escudero--former First Councilor, cast out and then killed while raising an army of rebellion
Bregar Escudero--Son of Empeno
Feline Escudero--Daughter of Kormirite prophet Naro, sister-in-law of Bregar

Andreas Dingo--Aristocrat and military hero of the Sunrise Realm

Geryn Truthbringer--historical Kormirite apostle

Groundwork: Grim Legacy
(Rolemaster heritage campaign)

Genre: Low to Mid Fantasy
Setting: Same world as Rolemaster Campaign, a century or two later
Kormir and the Ghasts have both become forces eternally at war, and each threatens humanity wherever it rears its head.  The play group will discover the history behind this lamentable state of affairs and who knows, maybe a solution.
The Sunrise Realm's central government has collapsed and civilization there has declined; other parts of the world, however, have developed slightly less anarchy and a few proto-states have started to develop.  Population has climbed.
There are still monsters around, and sometimes agents of Kormir and the Ghasts sneak through to work their mischief, but large scale invasions are unheard of (because of Dlak's enchantement).

System: Steadfast
In order to minimize confusion, I propose that our three confrontational tracks be Might, Prowess, and Influence.

Characters can be standard fantasy types or something else appropriate to the setting as long as it's sentient and capable of communication: human, beast, fallen angel of Kormir, renegade ghast or ghast agent, or other.

Scene 2: the conclusion of the ritual

The confused melee of ghasts and guards begins to turn in the guards' favor once Joden arrives with reinforcements. In addition, Joden calls upon the power of the Veil to turn the ghasts against each other. In short order he has bent a handful of them to his will, and caused enough confusion that their attemps to escape with Dlak's mind-controlled body are entirely stymied.

Fienn breaks free of his Dawnlander assailants and takes up a defensive post next to Dlak's possessed body and the ghast that holds him captive. He arrives just in time to prevent the breaking of the mind control, but it looks as if he will soon be overwhelmed—not by ghasts, but by Joden and the Dawnlander militia who are bent on exterminating the ghasts entirely and saving Dlak from their unholy influence.

At this moment, the vengeance-obsessed Briego arrives and, calling upon all his pent-up rage at the death of his brother, hurls his bola at his hated enemy Joden. The bola, guided by some evil fate, smashes Joden's skull and kills him instantly. He slumps to the ground, spattering the earth with his blood.

By this point Meruic has entered the scene. With his eagle sight he has spotted Briego; he sheds his animal form and in one swift movement nocks an arrow to the string and puts a shaft straight through the vengeful monk's forehead. Joden is avenged mere seconds after his death.

With the doughty soldiers of the Sunrise Realm and Meruic's deadly archery, the remaining ghasts are quickly dispatched and Fienn surrounded. He prepares to defend himself against his erstwhile allies, while Meruic tries to talk them down from creating even more of a tragedy (note I'm not mentioning the accidental rain of frogs here). They hesitate, sensing that something in the situation is not right....

...which provides just the time needed for the ghast's fear-curse to fade. “Wait!” shouts Fienn. “Dlak is almost finished with the ritual! He just needs a little more time!”

Had they the time to process this statement, the guards would doubtless be confused—for there is Dlak, spewing the mad ravings of his Lunatic controller, clearly not involved in any kind of ritual they can recognize. But even before another breath can be drawn the entire earth seems to tilt (every grabs reflexively for the nearest solid object), and the bodies of Dlak, Fienn, Meruic, and Joden are suddenly sucked in on themselves and disappear instantaneously.

No one can believe his eyes. What has just happened? Was Fienn right? Did Dlak just manage to save the Sunrise Realm with an enchantment that will finally fence out the ghasts? Or is this a vengeful trick of the ghasts themselves, slaying the Dawnlands' supposed saviors before they could manage to work whatever sorcery Fienn was referring to? And if so, why were four taken but Geryn left behind?

Only time will tell. The guards rub their disbelieving eyes and stare at each other, uncertain whether they have perhaps slipped into some other world without their knowledge.

Chapter 11: What Passes Away

Scene 1: panic at the library

Somewhat at loose ends, the heroes in the city are torn between two options: one, suggested by Meruic, that they head for the lands of the Mauriyyim and see if any secrets lie there for combating the ghasts. The other, suggested by Dlak, is to perform a ritual that forever traps the soul of a fuga in some kind of crystal or holding container, so his or her suffering will continually reinforce the Veil and prevent the ghasts from ever again crossing over. Whose soul? His own, of course—since he has concluded that Lady Ashleaf imprinted not only her memories but also her soul on him, making Dlak a second fuga.

At this point a message arrives: Parhet, who has taken the reins of the nearly-destroyed Soslayo network, is volunteering to use his connections with the ghasts to set up an arranged battle between the heroes and one of the five ghastlords (the most powerful among the ghasts). The party accepts, but does not show up for the arranged meeting.

Parhet finds this disappointing, because he has gone through the trouble to arrange a major arson in the poorest sections of the city which will horribly kill many people and which will allow ghast sorcerers to push through a threatening strike force affiliated with the Lunatic which will hopefully end the heroes once and for all. Instead the ghasts must now seek the party out.

Because Joden has sensed a large party of ghasts approaching from the west, Meruic leaves the city to scout the oncoming army (minions of the Brute). Dlak, Geryn, and Fienn are working the library, trying to figure out if and how Dlak's plan can be realized.

The Lunatic's assassination squad looses a horrible cry as they swarm the open-air library from the south, leaping over chairs, tables, and shelves in their attempts to slay the outlanders and get their claws on Dlak. The front-runners are emaciated corpses, literally insane from hunger as their overlords trickle just enough life-force into their decayed bodies to keep them moving. What they lack in strength or cunning they make up for in numbers.

The ravenous Newdead swarm the few guards hanging about the library and manage to flank even Fienn's expert defense, inflicting serious harm on Dlak even as he cowers under the table. As they rip into the party and Geryn's goddess refuses to answer his (ambitious) requests, the second wave of ghasts, the Desquiciados, scramble in behind the Newdead. And behind them are the the Lunatic's most powerful Mindrippers, whose incomprehensible magics leave the mortal psyche shredded beyond recognition.

In short order, Fienn has been cursed with a dark Fear, Dlak's mind has been stolen by one of the Lunatic's sorcerers, and Geryn's mind has been wiped free of independent thought. Even the timely arrival of Joden with a half-dozen Dawnlander guards seems insufficient to stay the Lunatic's mad attack—and that is reckoning without the Brute's vast army which is even now approaching Alcántara's walls...

Group experience award:
Researching Dlak's crazy plan: +2 DP
Negotiating with Parhet: +1 DP
Scouting ghasts: +1 DP
Developing Veil-power with the Mentalists: +1 DP
Creating huge suffering so the ghasts can win: +1 DP

Running total: 10th level, +24 DP towards 11th level

Drained, Dlak stands and stares at the ghastly dark paladin in it's death throes slowly clenching and unclenching his fists. When Meuric comes into sight again Finn puts a hand on the boy's shoulder. "We should go." 

Finn heaves the bleeding body of Rena over his shoulder and starts towards the wall, and Geryn. After a second Dlak pulls up the hood of his tattered cloak and walks in silence, head bowed, with his companions.  

When they've walked for several minutes Dlak speaks in a quiet voice. "I had a vision of Lady Ashleaf when I was unconscious. She told me I was Alcántara's only hope, and then she called me son. She also told me the conversation was all in my mind, which is why I don't really believe it. I can't believe it because it would mean that everyone I thought was my family, everyone I trusted, lied to me. I can't be the one. I just can't be that person! Because then, I would have to be the one to harvest the anguish of the Fuga. I don't want to do that but...I'm scared of what I might do when things get bad. I remember what fear made my do to Soren." 

Dlak is silent for a moment and then says, "Promise me you won't ever let me anywhere near Joden. If he comes back, don't even tell me. I won't sacrifice a friend just to be the person some woman wanted me to be. However great she was." 

Things I have learned from this RM campaign so far:

-I have trouble effectively handling groups larger than four
-Online gaming works better for some people than others
-When you give players the power to help steer the session it usually improves the story, a lot
-If I were to run RM again I would overhaul resisted spells in some way that eliminated RRs entirely
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