Using what you've got. That's what the Cimmerians do.

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:25 am

-- AESIR BLOOD --

CAMPAIGN BULLET POINT II



The only surviving son of that Grath mastersmith was your grandfather, Fionn, who was apprenticed to his father at the Duncohr family forge in Grathmuir. Fionn was wed to Maeoral, a Cimmerian girl from Grathwold, to strengthen the alliance between the two Grath villages. She gave Fionn four sons: Finn, Dael, Eanbotha, and Eregerth.

Before their firstborn, Finn, became your father, he witnessed trouble in your grandmother's village of Grathwold. A Grath shepherd traded a few sheep to an Aesir family for a wife. The shepherd was ridiculed and shunned by some members of the greater clan outside of Grathwold who felt the mixing of Cimmerian and Aesir blood to be an impure act that dishonored the clan. Some say that the shepherd was eventually forced out of Grathwold. Others say that the shepherd left the clan of his own choosing in order to find another home for his family. In either case, the shepherd did not leave Grathwold until his Aesir wife had a child, a little girl they named Lyme.

Finn knew little of Lyme, but he felt honor bound to offer marriage to her. No one else would. He thought that bringing her into the Duncohr family would shield her from those who would call her "half-breed". Fionn was against the marriage. The shepherd agreed, though, knowing his road away from the clan was uncertain and most likely dangerous.

Finn married Lyme, but the scorn and labels of clan dishonor did not cease.

The Aesir bloodline has passed from her mother to Lyme to her sons, Branoc and Caelis.

Branoc favors his father, Finn. But Caelis is light haired and light eyed--his Aesir heritage showing through.
Last edited by Supplement Four on Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Cimmerian Bard » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:57 pm

Let us not forget, too, that Conan was only in his late teens when he left Cimmeria, and so, he likely has a teenager's point-of-view about his homeland -- filled with angst, despisement, and not really knowing the whole story.

However, I agree that, according to Howard, Cimmeria (and therefore it's people) were dour, grim, violent, and possibly even unhappy, but they were only reflecting what their environment itself reflected onto them. The weather was often fierce and terrible, the skies almost always grey, and the black mountains often brooded in the dreadful nighted distances.

Having said this, though, remember that Conan sometimes presented a "black mirth", a dark humor that would sometimes surface at odd times (or times when he was half-drunk in a tavern). This is very much keeping with the old Celtic and Norse peoples who would often, or so we've been told, laugh at death and make jests in the face of such, drinking and fighting until the very bitter end. I definitely see Conan like this, and with him his Cimmerians, and must agree with Sup4 that they're more likely to share a laugh or two -- however dark and grim -- among themselves than with outsiders (at least until they get to know them well).
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:58 pm

Cimmerian Bard wrote:However, I agree that, according to Howard, Cimmeria (and therefore it's people) were dour, grim, violent, and possibly even unhappy, but they were only reflecting what their environment itself reflected onto them. The weather was often fierce and terrible, the skies almost always grey, and the black mountains often brooded in the dreadful nighted distances.
I think that if this is truly the only way that they should be portrayed, then they are really a one dimensional, unrealisitic people. They're more like Klingons than real people (and they're supposted to be the ancestors of people in the real world).

Do those that have always lived in Siberia never laugh?

I think that the Cimmerians should be portrayed as real people, never forgetting that they are dour, grim, and violent.

I definitely see Conan like this, and with him his Cimmerians, and must agree with Sup4 that they're more likely to share a laugh or two -- however dark and grim -- among themselves than with outsiders (at least until they get to know them well).
Agreed.

Think of any people from any time period in real history. People are people. Not all Apache were fierce, stoic, and blood thirsty. Not every Spartan was like that either.

They all are human, and I'm sure that they all laugh at some point.

Think of Apocalypto. Those are a foreign people (at least, to me, they are), but they still loved and laughed and found humor in their daily lives.

They might not be running around singing the "Seven Dwarves" song all the time, but there is time for humor.

I expect the Cimmerians are the same.

At least they are in my game.
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Postby Supplement Four » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:05 am

-- SEVEN STONES RIDGE --

CAMPAIGN BULLET POINT III



Finn brought his new bride back to Grathmuir to live among the Duncohrs. He was 24 years old, but Lyme had only seen 9 winters. On his honor, Finn did not know her as a woman, though, until she became one, at age 15. Her parents, the shepherd and his Aesir wife, left Grathwold eastbound, but they were never heard from again. That spring, when the snows thawed, the remains of a man and a woman were found to the east, savaged, dismembered and unrecognizable. Trackers found the prints of the horse-sized nordwolves, but it is thought that the giant wolves only fed on fresh dead bodies. Otherwise, the norders would have taken much of the meat back to their lair. The years passed, and this mystery was never solved nor were the bodies ever identified.

The taunting and abuse Finn faced from his clanmembers never subsided. Fionn had been against the marriage, but he stood by his son and the Duncohr family honor. That Fionn was a mastersmith needed by the clan as a whole kept the Duncohrs from the same fate faced by Lyme's family. There was talk that her parents were butchered by Grath once they left the safety of the clan's territory. In spite of all that the Duncohr family received in the face of Finn's marriage to the half-Aesir, Fionn had noticed a change in the clan as a whole. People acted differently--less tolerant, more savage. Disputes between Grath villages were common and sometimes bloody. Honor had become twisted. Respect for the old ways seemed to be fading. As progressive as the clan had become, the Grath seemed to be moving backwards, as if the clan were destroying itself from within.

Fionn couldn't explain it. It was just something he knew, the reason for which could not be expressed--at least not logically. Some reasons were only deciphered by the hair that stood up at the nape of his neck. Something unnatural was afoot among his clansmen. He believed it. It was something that was inexplicable.

Each Grath village is dominated by one family. The second family is always weaker politically, known as the underfamily. Grathmuir is the only Grath village to serve as home to three Grath families, and the Duncohrs were the middle family--one of the two Grathmuir underfamilies. It is not uncommon for an underfamily to break away from its home village to start a new settlement where it can be dominate. Fionn claimed this right, and the Duncohrs followed the Diamondrun river south, out of the mountains, into the foothills of the Eiglophians. There, the Diamondrun cascades into a waterfall on a small plateau that overlooks the plains to the south. This place is known to all Grath and most other Cimmerians for it is also the place where the Seven Sacred Stones stand. These rune covered stones stand from time forgotten as a reminder of Crom's victory over the Titans. This plateau is known as Crom's Battleground, and it has been a traveling destination for centuries.

It is here that Fionn planted his tent, brought his forge, and relocated his family.

The Duncohrs would be the dominate family of the new Grath village called Seven Stones Ridge.
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Postby Supplement Four » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:02 am

-- Typical Ages and Character Level --




Most people in this campaign range in character level from 1-10. Characters that are level 11+ are true heros, in deed, known and recognized in many directions. Hyborian kings, arch-mages and great sorcerers, and clan heroes are the types of characters that can be statted at level 11+.

Otherwise, most of the population in this game can be judged by the chart below. But, beware, it is only a rule-of-thumb. It's a rule that is made to be broken.

For example, Finn, elder of Seven Stones Ridge, is 57 years old and 7th level. The chief of the Ice Leopards, though, is about ten years younger than Finn yet he is a level higher.



Level 1 - typical age is 15-16

Level 2 - typical age is 16-18.

Level 3 - typical age is 18-21

Level 4 - typical age is 21-25

Level 5 - typical age is 25-30

Level 6 - typical age is 30-36

Level 7 - typical age is 36-43

Level 8 - typical age is 43-51

Level 9 - typical age is 51-60

Level 10 - typical age is 60-70
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:23 am

CIRCLE STEP combat maneuver

You circle around your opponent, always making yourself the hardest possible target while looking for an opening in your opponent's defenses to deliver your own strikes.

Circumstance: The character must have initiative and be in melee combat with a single opponent.

Effect: The character must attack from his starting square then use his five foot step to circle his opponent, moving to one of the two squares beside his opponent. If his opponent is right handed*, then the character's move to his opponent's right side will gain a larger dodge bonus than if the character moves to his opponent's left where the character is an easier target for a right handed swing. The opponent is allowed to keep step with the character, adjusting his facing as a free action. The character receives a +1 or a +2 bonus to Dodge Defense for the rest of the round when the move is completed depending on which side the character moved and the handedness of his opponent. Parry Defense does not receive a bonus from this maneuver.

*There is a 10% chance that a character is left handed.



Example --

Conan battles a Vanir. The Cimmerian crouches in the classic combat stance, his gleaming broadsword in his right hand and his left arm extended wide for balance. He studies the Vanir, wielding a large axe with both hands. Seeing his opponent favors a swing from right to left, Conan knows to keep him off balance by circling to the Nordheimer's right.

In game terms, Conan is in melee combat with a single opponent and has initiative. When the Cimmerian attacks, he will attack from his present square (the attack is resolved before movement) and then end his turn by placing Conan's figure to the right of the Vanir, using Conan's five foot step to do so.

Now, it's the Vanir's action, and his figure is allowed to turn and face Conan as an immediate (free) action, then make his attack normally. If Conan dodges this attack, then the Cimmerian will receive a +2 bonus to his Dodge Defense. If, for some reason, Conan decides to parry, then the attack is resolved normally without bonus.







GIVE GROUND combat maneuver

You retreat a few steps, in the face of an onslaught of powerful blows by your opponent, in an effort to steal some of the energy from his fierce swings and jabs.

Circumstance: The character cannot have initiative and must fail a parry, and be damaged, from an attack while in melee combat with a single opponent.

Effect: If the character is damaged after his opponent defeats the character's parry, the character can use an immediate action in the form of a five foot retreat directly backwards. Doing so will rob the attack of some of its energy, reducing damage by 1 point. Once the attack is resolved, the attacker can decide to use his five foot step normally, if able, to keep step with the opponent.


Example --

Conan battles a Vanir. Conan swings his massive sword using both hands at the Vanir. The northman throws up his axe to block Conan's blow and takes a few steps backwards just as Conan hits. The Cimmerian's strike loses some of its energy with the Vanir's maneuver.

In game terms, Conan has initiative and attacks and damages the Vanir. Conan may be intending to use the Circle Step maneuver above, but the Vanir robs him of that option when the Nordheimer moves directly backwards by five feet after failing to parry Conan's blow. The damage put to the Vanir is reduced by 1 point with this maneuver. Conan can now use his five foot step to move towards the Vanir and continue melee or remain where he is, in which case the Vanir begins his turn five feet away from Conan.




MOVEMENT NOTE: The Circle Step maneuver is a use of the character's Five Foot Step, therefore the character cannot move any farther this round. The Five Foot Step associated with the Give Ground maneuver, on the other hand, is an immediate action and therefore is a free action that does not count against the character's movement during the round (as with the Dance Aside maneuver).
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:24 am

Getting The Drop On Another - When sneak up behind an enemy and place a blade to his throat (or the point of a sword into his kidney), catching him flatfooted, you have the drop on him. Likewise, if you cover a flatfooted character with a crossbow or drawn bow (how long can you hold it?), but not a sling, you are considered to have the target covered and have gained the drop on him.

If you have the drop on a target and make a successful attack throw, a Massive Damage check is made no matter the total damage inflicted.

If the target's Massive Damage save is successful, the wound is still subject to the Permanent Damage rule.
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:51 am

When to use the Permanent Damage Chart

1. When a character rolls a natural 1 on his defense throw.

2. When a character's hit points fall to 0 or below.

3. When damage to a character equals or exceeds the character's threshold.

4. Whenever a characer must make a Massive Damage check.
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Postby Spectator » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:42 am

As a 1st Ed dude, I never heard of the Perm DMG chart.
Is that a 2nd ed construct?
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:07 pm

Spectator wrote:As a 1st Ed dude, I never heard of the Perm DMG chart.
Is that a 2nd ed construct?
It's in the Warrior's Companion. Out of the box, there's a few problems with the mechanics, but it's fixable. Like a lot of things with the Warriors Companion, as-is it's buggy.
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Postby Supplement Four » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:14 am

BRANOC


Remember that your brother is Branoc. He's the older twin of Caelis.

He's got a sense of humor. He's quiet. And, he's typically slow to answer because he chooses his words carefully. When he speaks, he uses a strange speech pattern where the end of a sentence is spoken before the beginning of it. Instead of saying, "I will try," Branoc will pause, think hard, and then say, "Try, I will."

Some might criticize Branoc as being too cautious because he takes the time to think things through completely before making a decision. He listens, and solicits, advice from others. Nevertheless, he won the Ras Croi (ross-croy, the race of the heart), and he is the Ar Grais (are-grye), who is the chief of the current "class" of warriors-in-training, that includes both player characters.

Branoc is a competent leader, though, and there is no doubt that he loves his brothers. He would die for either of them. And, he considers Thrallan just as much of his own blood as is his twin, Caelis.





GRAIIS


The graiis (grye-is) is the current "class" of early teens training to become adult warriors for the clan. The current graiis includes five young members of the clan: Thrallan (age 14) and Caelis (age 14), Dahkus (age 13) and Brial (age 13) all under the leadership of Branoc (age 14), who is the Ar Grais.

As Ar Grais, Branoc wears a necklace made from the bones of the Cimmerian Blue Fox. This necklace is called the grai madda ra (grye-modda-raw), which is the symbol of leadership for the Ar Grais.





THREE YEARS


The graiis spends three years (or there abouts) training to become (accepted as) warriors for the Blue Fox clan. The process starts off in a general fashion as the young boys develop the muscles to become warriors. In the second year, the training gradually becomes more specialized--several important skills are developed (hunting, weaponsmithing, leatherworking, etc), and it is here where the graiis are set upon a path for a profession, some becoming apprentices to other clansmen.

The third year builds upon the other two but with a strong focus on battle. The graiis must acquire their own weapons as one of the tests (that teaches the ability to overcome problems) in becoming an adult, and once they settle on one, they train night and day to be invincible with it.

The third year ends when the graiis go through the final rite, called the deasghnath (dee-as-nath), where the young warrior, now aged about 15, must make a kill on his own, without help from a single other soul. The type of kill is up to the warrior, and typically results in a feared animal being taken down and returned to the villiage. But sometimes, Clan enemies or targets of a Blood Fued are used to fulfill the deasghnath. A warrior has some input into the esteem he will recieve after undergoing the deasghnath by the target he chooses to kill. It is not unusual to see a warrior return with the heads of three wolves, but this warrior does not find his place beside that of the warrior who returns to the villiage with the head of a member from an enemy clan.





THE MANTLE


Once a warrior completes the deasghnath and is recognized as an adult by the clan, the warrior is presented with a mantle. This is a large, warm, cloak, big enough to protect the warrior in winter and when sleeping in the wild. It can be made into a hammock or a wilderness shelter. Every person in the Clan contributes to the creation of the warrior's Mantle, from those hunters who provide the fur, to those who clean and skin the dead animals, to those who actually stitch the cloak into one piece. Young and old, every clansmen's hand touches the mantle and contributes to its creation, after which, it is presented to the warrior in a ceremony in front of the entire clan.

It is not unusual for a warrior to keep his mantle for his entire life. The cloaks are stitched in such a way that it is quite easy to invisibly lengthen or widen the garment as the warrior grows. The length of the mantle tells others the warrior's place in the social structure of the clan. A clan elder may have a quite large, long and wide mantle, where as a young warrior fresh from his deasghnath may have a mantle that only stretches to the top of his legs or the bottom of his knees.

What the warrior does on his deasghnath determines the length of his mantle presented to him by the clan.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:25 pm

FINN'S CHILDREN

There are three life paths that are regarded as necessary to the survival of the Blue Fox clan, and although Cimmerians have little concern for status among their peers, warriors who follow one of these three life paths do garner more respect from their clansmen than do those who follow other paths.

As it stands, the three Duncohr brothers each travel down one of these different life paths.

Let me remind you that the number three is a sacred number.



Seven Stones Ridge is quite prosperous, as far as Cimmerian villages go, and that success is directly tied to the quality of work produced by the Duncohr forge. Trade is strong with the Blue Foxmen not only because of the clanholm's location, but mainly for steel produced by the master smiths Finn and Dael Duncohr. Recently it has been announced that the two have taken on an apprentice, Finn's son, Caelis.

Defense of the clan is always of paramount importance, and Clan Urrough (the Cimmerian word for "Blue Fox") stands a few men whose vocation is war and only war. Every Blue Foxman is a warrior, having survived the tests at early age, but a select few have no other life path than the martial protection of the clan and its territory. The third Duncohr elder, Eanbotha, is the current clan war chief (second to the clan elder, Finn Duncohr). Finn's first son, older twin to Caelis, is Branoc, and he has announced his life path to follow his uncle Ean along the path of the true Urrogh warrior.

Every new day, one task is supersedes all others--that of keeping the clan fed. Food is always a primary concern, and it is the clan's hunters that fulfill that need each and every day. It is a solitary life, occasionally, out in the wild, sometimes alone for days, tracking beasts so that their meat can be brought back to the clanholm to feed those who support the clan through tanning, and weaving, and leatherworking, and other ways. These hunters also serve as the eyes and ears of the war chief, serving as far scouts and reporting any discoveries that are out of the norm. Thrallan, Finn's last son, has chosen this path, learning the work of a hunter from his older sister, Drachena.



Caelis is apprenticed as a weapon smith to his father, Finn, and uncle, Dael.

Branoc will become an Urrogh warrior, serving under his uncle, the war chief Eanbotha, once he is accepted by the clan as a man.

Thrallan is primarily mentored by Drachena, his older sister, learning the ways of far hunter and scout.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:34 am

NAMING CIMMERIANS


The Blind Bards tell of a time, in ages past, when Crom and other gods walked the earth. There were seven demi-gods back then, all brothers, called Titans. There names were:

Foilloch (Foil-lock)
Huogh (Hugh)
Thrallan (Thrall-an)
Caelis (Kay-lis)
Daollcohr (Dale-core)
Silaigne (Sill-ay-knee)
Padranag (Pa-dran-age)

Crom had given the Cimmerian people the secret of steel--something that, before then, was only known by the gods. At that time, there were gods greater than Crom, and one of them, the god called Dagda, was greatest of all. Dagda sent the seven Titans to punish Crom for divulging the secret of steel to the mortals, and Crom faced all seven at once. A huge battle ensued that left the earth scared. But, when the combat ceased, only Crom remained standing. Crom had killed all seven of the Titans, and from the side of the mountain, he drew forth seven headstones, setting them in the ground in a circle, burying the seven Titans in a radial grave, like the symbol for the sun or spokes of a wheel when viewed from above. Crom then returned to face Dagda, defeated him as well, and Crom became the greatest of all gods, as he remains to this day.

The battle described in the legend took place on the very ground where your village now stands. At the outskirts of town is a circle of ancient, rune-covered, stones that jut 30 and 40 feet up into the sky. Think of the sight as being similar to Stonehenge in England, except these large stones do not have cross-pieces. They are seven monolithic stones that taper to a narrow point near the top resembling black teeth erupting from the ground.

These seven stones are where your village gets its name: Seven Stones Ridge. In the Cimmerian tongue, the Seven Standing Stones are known as the prachaun grul (Praw-con-grool).

And, it is said that the blood of the Titans that has seeped into the soil makes the warriors of your clan larger and stronger than even most other Cimmerians.

The prachaun grul is a protected clan resource, but Cimmerians from other clans will sometimes journey thousands of leagues to see the site where Crom defeated the Titans. Your clan elders allow pilgrims from other parts of Cimmeria to approach the stones under a watchful eye.

Cimmerians respect honest effort, even in defeat. If a person gives it his all, he is respected whether he wins or loses. Cimmerians can respect defeated enemies if the enemy fights with honor and never gives up. Thus it is with the Titans who faced Crom. It is said that each of the seven fought bravely against Crom. Crom showed his respect at their effort by burying them with the seven headstones so that all would remember them (otherwise, Crom would have left their bodies to rot on the battlefield where they fell, soon to be forgotten in time).

Because of this sentiment in Cimmerian culture, it is an honor to take a name from the Seven Titans. Most of the time, only family names are taken from the Titan names. Your family name is Duncohr (Dun-core), which is taken from the Titan Daollcohr. But, family names are almost never used by Cimmerians. Note how Conan only ever used his given name--never his family name or his clan name (this also had to do with the fact that Conan is sometimes considered an outcast, not associated with the clan or family).

Every once in a while, a Cimmerian's given name will be taken from the Seven Titans. This is very unconventional, but it is done from time to time--usually only with a reason. It is an honor to be given such a name.

Caelis is the son of the village Elder, Finn Duncohr. Thrallan is Finn's adopted son. Both are part of the first generation to be born of the Blue Fox Clan (Finn used to be a member of the Grath clan--that's another story. Your clan is new--just now a generation old.), and to honor that fact, Finn named his sons after the Titans.

Branoc, Caelis' living twin, was not named for a Titan as your mother, Lyme, named him for her father, Branard, as she was giving birth. Then, as the birthing turned dangerous, and Caelis fought his way out of the womb past the dead triplet Padran, it was Finn who named the other children (Caelis, Padran, and Thrallan).

What this does is set the PCs off as a bit special. You're not only the chieftain's sons, and you're not only part of the first native generation of Blue Fox clansmen, but you've also got given names taken from the Titans.



Your family name, Duncohr, is taken from the Titan Daollcohr.

Your dead brother, Padran, takes his name from the Titan Padranag.

One character was found at the foot of the Thrallan headstone as a babe, so Finn named him for that Titan.

Finn then named his unnamed son, Caelis (and the dead triplet), for the Titans with Standing Stones on either side of Thrallan.



Remember that the number 3 is a sacred number among the Cimmerians. Rutcrana, the old, blind hag of an oracle in the village, was heard to have said that Thrallan stands with life on one side and death on the other. Was she referring to the position of the Titan Standing Stones, or the Thrallan character, with the dead triplet and the Caelis living character, or both? Does Caelis represent life? With the way he is thought of fighting his way out of his mother's womb? Does the dead triplet, Padran, represent death and weakness because he was not born?

Food for thought.



From time to time, Cimmerians pick up names that further describe them and their experiences. These are usually not self-picked names, but names that have been placed upon them by others for deeds or actions or witnessed experiences. Burok Bear-slayer, Brig Tall-Wood, and Gard Foehammer are all good examples. Most people, however, go through life using only their given name. Conan, Cul, Daol, and Maev are all good examples.

Your characters, for better or worse, have both been saddled with additonal names.

Thrallan was the first to pick up a name. He is called Thrallan Stone. Some just refer to him as Stone. This is a reference to how he was found as a babe, abandoned at the base of one of the Seven Standing Stones. Remember, when Thrallan would not quit the Ras Croi even though his ankle had been pulled, and he attempted to jump the gorge and catch Branoc to win the race, this event was praised by the clan watching the race.

Since that time, Thrallan has been given an honor afforded only one other Blue Fox clan-member. The warrior Beck was the first to complete the Ras Croi, becoming the first Ar Grais. The fallen tree he used to cross the gorge has become known as "Beck's Bridge".

Now, the previously un-named gorge that Beck's Bridge crosses--the same that Thrallan attempted to jump--has been named Stone Gorge, in honor of Thrallan's effort.

Branoc may have become the Ar Grais, but Thrallan has a part of the Ras Croi named after him.



Caelis has been attached to the name "Red-Birth". Caelis Red-Birth. This is a reference to the thought that Caelis killed his own brother in his mother's womb in a fight to be born.

Today, most refer to these player characters as either Thrallan or Caelis, or, more formally, Thrallan Stone and Caelis Red-Birth.
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Postby Supplement Four » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:27 pm

There is a bit of a social class system at work among your people. Like many things Cimmerian, it is simple, functional, and based on the clan's ability to combat foes.

Every Urrogh in the Clan of the Blue Fox is a member of one of these four social class categories:



CHILDREN

Newborn to Age 14

Every Urrogh aged 14 or less is considered a child. Girls are automatically considered adults when they reach age 15. Boys are considered adults once they have completed their deasghnath. The deasghnath is usually attempted by a 14 year old sometime before he reaches the Beltain where he turns 15.

Currently, nearly half the clan is made up of children: 151 children in a clan of 336 people. This is the result of a "baby boom" that has occured in the two decades since the Grath Separation. Many adults were killed during that war, and in the prosperous years since, as Seven Stones as grown, there have been more births.

In the entire clan, both in the village of Seven Stones itself, and in the 9 outlying homesteads, the child class consists of 74 boys and 77 girls.





WARRIORS

Age 15 to 30

Every young adult Urrogh is considered a member of the warrior class, but membership among this class does not necessarily include recognition as a warrior. Most women, for example, are not combat trained--or they are trained to a small degree. Cimmerian women will fight, unlike some of their soft counterparts in the civilized south, but women are not typically trained for combat the way men are. Men train their entire lives for combat, no matter their regular profession. Women spend time tending domestic matters and raising children.

If a woman wishes to become a warrior as the men, then she is allowed to do so. There is no predjudice. But women are not cut any slack, either. Any woman warrior must be able to hold her own against her male counterparts. Because men are naturally physically stronger than women, few Cimmerian women ever become true warriors. The ones that do, such as Drachena, are truly formidable opponents.

Nearly a third of the entire clan, 118 Urrogh from the total of 336, are members of the warrior social class. This is not an accurate count of actual warriors in the clan as women are included in the number. It's a count of people aged 15-30.

The Urrogh are a young clan. Many of the craftsmen and laborers are under 30 years of age. This is true for a number of reasons, but the primary reason seems to be that many of the older Urrogh were killed during the Grath Separation, thinning out the older population. Another reason is that the Blue Fox clan, in a way, is radical, breaking with long standing tradition when it rebelled from its mother clan, the Grath. This tends to attract younger minds rather than older people entrenched in their beliefs.

The warrior social class is simple the clansmen who are between the ages of 15 and 30, in the prime of their lives. In the entire clan of 336 people, 53 are adult males and 65 are adult females.





ELDERS

Age 31 to 60

Once an Urrogh is considered 31 years old after seeing his 31st Beltain, he is considered an elder. The elders are the oldest and most accomplished warriors in the clan. The chieftain and war chieftain are exclusiely taken from this societal class, though it is not impossible--just highly unlikely--that an Urrogh of warrior-status become chief. By this time in their lives, a clansman among the elders has lived long enough and experienced enough to have gained wisdom with his words.

Finn, of the Duncohr kiln, is the current chieftain of the Urrogh. Formally, he should be called Finn Chieftain, but Finn prefers not to use the title. This has caught on with the clansmen, and most refer to him as Finn Elder.

The Blue Fox Clan is not a democracy. It is very much a dictatorship with Finn Elder in the role of a strong chieftain. Finn recognizes his weaknesses, though, and is not afraid to delegate responsibility and share power with those he trusts. Where most Cimmerian clans have one chieftain, Finn has elected to make his brother, Eanbotha, to act as War Chieftain. Together, they have guided Seven Stones Ridge and the clan to its current height of power it has this day.

Finn insists that the longhouse near the center of the village never have a solid door applied to it. Even on the coldest winter nights, only a heavy bear skill will be found covering the entrance, placed there to block the freezing wind and rain. Each wall of the longhouse features a fireplace, so the interior can be kept quite warm even when tears freeze on the face outside the structure.

Once every new moon villagers and outlying clanmembers gather in the speaking hall to talk about village plans, current events, and the doling out of village assets. The village elders take a postion at the the center of the hall and stand atop a few smoothed-out boulders so that they can speak. The Xean is taken from its place above the largest fireplace and used as a "talking stick". It is passed around when other clansmen need to be heart.

There are three rules that should not be broken at the speaking hall, under pain of punishment by deep cuts on the chest and thighs. The first rule is that a non-elder cannot speak without holding the Xean. The second rule is that no weapons may be drawn while a moon gathering is taking place; only fists may cause bodily harm. The third and most important rule is that anything that is decided must be bled for; otherwise the clan will not ahere to it. Any blood gathered in this fashion is poured on the ground near the prachaun grule to mix with the remains of the Titans and seal the decision.

On most occasions, Finn will decide the decision at hand. But, from time to time, he will put a question up for vote. Those of the warrior class are given one vote each, while any elder's vote is weighted as three of the warriors. Children and those in their twilight years are not allowed to vote, but most twilight clansmen are regarded as trusted advisors.





TWILIGHT AGE

Age 61+

Few Urrogh ever reach their twilight years and become members of this social class. Life is hard and dangerous in Cimmeria. Most are lucky to die late in their elder years. There are only 3 male and 4 female Urrogh in the entire clan that make up this societal class. We have established three of them: Old Fionn, the founder of Seven Stones Ridge and father of Finn Elder; Rutcrana, the clan Oracle; and Stenna, who governs the orphanage homestead.

It is important not to underestimate the power a twilight clanmember can have over the clan in spite of not having actual voting rights.
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Postby Supplement Four » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:03 pm

Stenna's Homestead

Stenna is head of one of the 9 homesteads in the Blue Fox Clan. But rather than be a shepherd or farmer, Stenna's place has become the clan "orphanage". In the harsh, rugged land of Cimmeria, orphans are common. Many Foxmen accept children from other families as their own. Finn Elder, the clan chieftain, has two adopted children, Drachena and Thrallan. This is a part of Cimmerian culture. The Clan is more important than the family, so it makes it easier to accept those that are not "blood" as if they were "blood" based on the strength of the clan.

From time to time, though, circumstances arise where children are not adopted by others. Cimmerians are very superstitious. A child, lone survivor of a family that died of the pox, might be shunned by others in the clan as a disease carrier or even seen as being cursed. This is where Stenna comes in. She accepts these hard-luck cases and provides a home for them.

People call her Stenna Goodseller. She gets the name not because she is skilled when it comes to bargaining goods but because of what she trades: Children that need homes. She'll work to find a child a home, and if unsuccessful, the clan orphan will stay with her.

Stenna is in her twilight years (early 60's). She's a 9th level Commoner Trapper. That's how she survives, by trapping and trading what she catches for the goods she needs at the homestead. Stenna teaches the trade to all the children that live with her for a long period of time.

Stenna is short, about 5' 4". She's wide at the hip. There are streaks of white in her still dark hair. Her personality is "in your face", as she is always looking out for herself and her kids. "Now, Brable John, don't ya be cheatin' me on tha salt. You fill it the lip of the bag. I'm trading good skins here for that salt, and I mean to get me bargain's worth."



Arvel as been with her longest. He's a deaf mute. But strong. And, he's fiercely loyal to Stenna. He does most of the heavy lifting and hard jobs around the homestead. Some think that Arvel is Stenna's blood child, but Stenna scoffs at this. Arvel can't speak to confirm or deny it.





Silaigne is 16 years old. He's with Stenna because his father is of the rex. Though strong and capable, no other family will accept him do to his legacy.





Mallie Will is 4 years old. Her family died of winter fever. Only Mallie and her sister survived. She wears a tin bowl on her head as a "helmet", and she has Silaigne's old boots that are much too large for her. Those boots rise up to Mallie's knees, and her feet slip around in them inside, somtimes giving her blisters. She will never part with them, though, as these boots used to belong to Silaigne before he outgrew them. Mallie idolizes Silaigne. In fact, her name comes from the fact that "Mallie will do anything for Silaigne".



Mialee is Mallie's older sister. Age 12.





Lidda, Age 18, is the survivor of a Vanir attack. Except for her two younger brothers, her homestead was burned to the ground, her family slaughtered. Lidda and her brothers are Grath, which is the reason Stenna has been unable to find them homes--that and the fact that Stenna refuses to break them up. Whichever family takes them in, takes in all three.

Silaigne and Lidda recently lost their virginity together.



Regdar, Age 8. Lidda's brother.



Jozan, Age 5. Lidda's brother.
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Postby Supplement Four » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:50 am

Part I of the story lived in the first game session.



LIFE IN THE MUCK

We began the game with the two PCs at age 11, Caelis and Thrallan. They were knee-deep in the muddy ponds near their village doing what is called bog mining. Basically, particles of iron-ore run off the mountain carried by the Diamondrun river. That mountain stream crashes in a waterfall near your village. There is a small pond, then the ground turns to a muddy, swamp-like muck over near where the forest begins. The grass is thick with long roots. Mud collects on the roots, creating these floating island-like patties. The dense roots act as a filter for the iron ore particles, too. Over time, the ore develops into a small pellet. The boys clomp around in this cold muck, pick up and over-turn the patties, then use these sycle like knives to cut and saw through grass roots so that they are able to lift the patty and view the underside. They dig around on the bottom of the patty with their fingers until they hit something hard, which is an iron-ore pellet. This, they drop into the leathern sacks tied to their waists before moving on to the next patty.

We learned a lot of stuff in this first scene. I'll bullet point the major stuff here:



- They are clansmen of the Blue Fox Clan. The term "Urrogh" is the Cimmerian word for "Blue Fox", and I sometime use that inter-changeably.



- Their father is the current clan chieftain. Their family name is Duncohr, but Cimmerians typically don't use family names--only given names--as the clan is always more important than the family. People refer to their father as Finn Elder.



- Two decades ago, Finn and his family lead a rebellion agains the Grath clan. This is how the Clan of the Blue Fox began.



- Branoc is an NPC out in the muck with them. He is Caelis' older twin. Branoc is smart, but slow to respond and make a decision. He's wise but very cautious. He has a strange way of speaking, always turning a sentence "around" so that which is usually spoken last, he speaks first. "Fast, I can run."



- Branoc and Caelis were to be triplets, but their youngest brother was stillborne. Some say that Caelis killed his brother in his mother's womb before either were born, and their mother died as a result of their battle. For this reason, Caelis is called Caelis Redbirth. Branoc shares no part of this because he was born relatively easily, and his mother seemed pleased with him. The trouble started after Branoc's birth.



- The mother of Branoc and Caelis was named Lyme. She died not long after childbirth. Before she became unconscious, she named her first born, Branoc, after her father, Branard. She succumbed just as Caelis was being born. This may have contributed to Padran never making it out of the womb alive.



- There are seven monolithic stones near the clanholme, and the village takes its name from that landmark: Seven Stones Ridge. It is said that Crom gave the secret of steel to the people on this very spot. Dagda, the high god at that time, sent the Seven Titans to punish Crom for his action. Crom defeated all seven, and the Seven Stones, called the prachaun grul in the Cimmerian tongue, are the headstones that Crom himself laid in the ground to cover the graves of the Titans. Crom took the time to bury his enemies because he respected their never-ceasing will to win even when faced with defeat. For this reason, the Seven Stones are a sacred site for all Cimmerians, and the respect for one's enemy who fights well is still evident in Cimmerian culture. After defeating the Titans, Crom faced Dagda and defeated him as well, allowing Crom to become the god of all gods.



- Finn named Caelis for one of the Seven Titans. It is normal for family names to be based on the names of the Seven Titans. Finn's own family name, Duncohr, is based on the mightiest of all Titans, Daollcohr. But, it is always a true honor to have one's given name be one of the Titans. The majority of the time, this is not done, and when it is done, the Cimmerian naming his children is honor bound to have a very good reason for breaking tradition. Finn named Caelis for the Titan because Caelis holds the promise and future of the clan, as Caelis is one of the first to be an Urrogh from birth. Older clan members were of the Grath clan, before the clan of the Blue Fox came into existence. Branoc would have also received a Titan name, but Finn honored his wife's choice of naming Branoc after Lyme's father.



- Thrallan was found as a babe on the night of Branoc's and Caelis' birth. He was abandoned by one of the Seven Stones, at the foot of the stone called Thrallan. Finn adopted him as his own, seeing Thrallan as a god-givenreplacement for the stillborne Padran. Thrallan, too, was given a name of the Titans.



- Lyme's father, Branard, traded for a wife from Aesir merchants. Lyme was half Aesir. Branoc and Caelis are quarter Aesir. You can't see it as much on Branoc, but Caelis definitley has lighter skin and hair that is lighter than any other in the clan.



- The Beltain is the largest, most celebrated festival among the Cimmerians. It is a three-day time of feasting, renewing vows, cementing relationships, marriages, contracts, and the like. It is a celebration of the coming of summer, which is alway important in this cold land. Herds are switched from winter to summer pastures, and as they do so, they are passed through the fire to rid them of demonic influence or possession. This is also the time from which all Cimmerians count their age. Cimmerians do not fiddle with keeping track of actual days. Every time the Beltain rolls around, each Cimmerian is considered a year older. It's not an excat science, but it works for these people.



- Cimmerians believe that a day ends as soon as the light fades. The darkness brings with it a new day. When we began this scene, with the PCs in the muck, they are only a few hours away from the start of the Beltain and being considered 12 years of age.



- 12 year old males in the Blue Fox Clan run the ras croi, the race of the heart, during the Beltain when they turn 12. This race is designed to be an endurance test for the boys--to sift out those who are physically mature enough to begin warrior training and those who need to wait another year. As the scene begins, the PCs are trepidatious about the coming race on the morrow. Those who finish the race go on into a 3 year warrior training program. If a member of this program after completing the race, the child is considered to be part of the graiis. The winner of the ras croi becomes the leader of the graiis, and he is called the Ar Grais. The first year is focussed on developing muscles that are needed for war. The second year sees the youth matched with a profession and general arms training. The third year focuses the child on specific weapons where the young warrior shows aptitude. One graduates from the graiis sometime after their 14th year and before their 15th year by going on a deasghnath, which is a ritual where the young warrior is sent from the village, alone, out into the wilderness, and expected to make some kind of kill. What the child kills is up to him, but the more dangerous the kill, the more honor is laid upon the child when he returns. Returning successfully from the deasghnath sees the child no longer thought of as a child, but as a warrior for the clan. Everyone in the clan contributes time, effort, or materials to make a long cloak for the warrior who has completed his deasghnath. This is called a mantle. The longer the mantle, the more honor is afforded the warrior. The length of the mantle is decided after the warrior returns with his deasghnath kill.







As the sun fell from the sky, Branoc spotted a wagon pulled by two horses coming down the old trail above them on the ridge. It was headed towards the village. "On yonder hill, Olav comes." Branoc says. We get the impression Branoc knows who this is. "What he brings with him, I wonder."

The story outline is continued in Part II.
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Postby Supplement Four » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:36 am

Starting Possessions





CAELIS

Arms

0.0 lb. - Bracers. High Quality leather. These act as a "headband" for your wrists by keeping sweat from getting on your hands, making your weapon grip slippery.



Torso

0.0 lb. Loincloth. High Quality fabric. It is not unusual for a Cimmerian to just wear this when the temperature allows.

0.5 lb. - Ladder Suspenders. High Quality leather. These suspenders hold up your trews in place of a belt. There is a cross-piece of leather both on your chest and at your back that keep the leather straps from slipping off your shoulders when doing manual labor.

0.5 lb. - Weapon Belt. High Quality leather. This is a wide leather belt you use to hold your weapons.

0.5 lb. - Weapon Girdle. High Quality leather. This protects your waist from being rubbed raw by the weapon belt. Finn had three of these made and gave them to you and your brothers as the three of you entered your second year of the graiis and began weapons training.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. This is a small leather, drawstring pouch that you use to carry small items.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. You carry a second pouch. The first carries your sharpening stone, while the second carriers your mirror.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. Your third pouch. In this one, you carry the animal fat you use to oil your two weapons.

1.0 lb. - Animal Fat. Carried in your third pouch, this is a lump of hardened animal fat, wrapped in a leather cloth, that you use to oil your weapons. You can also use it for cooking, if need-be.

2.0 lb. - Sharpening Stone. This is a sharpening stone for your weapons. You carry it in your belt pouch, which leaves little room for anything else in it.

0.5 lb. - Steel Mirror. Your father gave this to you. It's very valuable. It's a small, palm-sized steel mirror. You have to keep it oiled, or it will rust. Animal fat will do. And you must wipe it clean of the oil when you use it. It fits into one of your belt pouches.

0.0 lb. - Drinking Jack. Leather. This is your favorite ale mug. Cimmerians love beer and ale of all sorts. You carry this on your weapon belt at the small of your back.

0.0 lb. - Leine. High Quality cloth. This is a billowy, baggy Cimmerian shirt. It hangs to your knees, but when you wear it, you tuck it into your kilt. Cimmerians often do not wear these when the temperature is warm. They go bare chested when they can to prevent wear-and-tear on the leine.

0.0 lb. - Leather Costrel. This is a pitch-lined leather waterskin with a cork stopper. It also has a strap to throw across your chest.

2.0 lb. - Hatchet. Your father made one steel hatchet. The rest are all iron. You took the steel hatchet for yourself. It hangs from a leather loop on your weapon belt at your hip. This hatchet has a mirror-like steel finish to it.

2.0 lb. - Hatchet. This is an iron hatchet. One side is the blade, the other is a flat, heavy piece that circles the haft, making the hatchet also a hammer. This hatchet hangs from its own loop on your opposite hip.



Legs

1.0 lb. Work Boots. High Quality leather. You don't wear socks.

0.5 lb. Trews. High Quality heavy wool. These are tight fitting Cimmerian pants.



Total Weight: 12 lbs.








SILAIGNE

Arms

0.0 lb. - Leather cord. You have 5 foot of leather cord you can use for various purposes--usually mending your clothes. You keep it wound around one of your bicepts.

2.0 lb. - Hunting Spear. Very simple haft. Iron spearhead is pitted and nicked, but you have done what you could to clean, sharpen, and oil it.



Torso

0.0 lb. Loincloth. Frontier Quality furs. This item is homemade from small animal skins.

0.0 lb. - Rope Belt. You use a length of rope for your weapon belt.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. This is a small leather, drawstring pouch that you use to carry small items.

1.0 lb. - Whetstone. This is a sharpening stone for your spear. You carry it in your belt pouch. It was the only one Stenna had at the homestead, and you took it.

2.0 lb. - Cimmerian Dirk. Your father's moose-handled weapon. You wear this in its scabbard at your waist connected to your home-made rope weapon belt.

1.0 lb. - Pancho. Frontier Quality leather. This is a simple animal skin with a hole cut in it for your head. You can throw this one quickly to keep the elements off of you.

0.0 lb. - Leine. Border Quality cloth. This is a billowy, baggy Cimmerian shirt. It hangs to your knees, but when you wear it, you tuck it into your kilt. Cimmerians often do not wear these when the temperature is warm. They go bare chested when they can to prevent wear-and-tear on the leine.

0.0 lb. - Leather Costrel. This is a pitch-lined leather waterskin with a cork stopper. It also has a strap to throw across your chest.



Legs

0.5 lb. Shoes. Frontier Quality soft leather. This item is homemade from animal skins. You don't wear socks.

0.5 lb. Winter Leggings. Frontier Quality. These fur lined leggings attach via leather straps to the shoes, making a type of winter shoe that covers the legs to the knee.

1.0 lb. Kilt. Frontier Quality leather animal skin. This is a homemade kilt that is simply a large animal skin.



Total Weight: 8.5 lbs.







THRALLAN

Head

0.0 lb. - Headband. Simple leather headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes.



Arms

0.0 lb. - Bracers. High Quality leather. These act as a "headband" for your wrists by keeping sweat from getting on your hands, making your weapon grip slippery.



Torso

0.0 lb. Loincloth. High Quality fabric. It is not unusual for a Cimmerian to just wear this when the temperature allows.

0.5 lb. - Weapon Belt. High Quality leather. This is a wide leather belt you use to hold your weapons.

0.5 lb. - Weapon Girdle. High Quality leather. This protects your waist from being rubbed raw by the weapon belt. Finn had three of these made and gave them to you and your brothers as the three of you entered your second year of the graiis and began weapons training.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. This is a small leather, drawstring pouch that you use to carry small items.

0.5 lb. - Belt Pouch. You carry a second pouch. The first carries your sharpening stone, while the second carriers your fish hooks, line, tinder, and steel.

2.0 lb. - Sharpening Stone. This is a sharpening stone for your weapons. You carry it in your belt pouch, which leaves little room for anything else in it.

0.0 lb. - Flint and Steel. You keep this in one of your belt pouches.

0.0 lb. - Bone Fishhook, Line, and Weight. The line is made from animal gut. It's 10 feet long. The weight is a pebble you picked up off the ground. You keep these things with your flint and steel in one of your belt pouches.

0.0 lb. - Leine. High Quality cloth. This is a billowy, baggy Cimmerian shirt. It hangs to your knees, but when you wear it, you tuck it into your kilt. Cimmerians often do not wear these when the temperature is warm. They go bare chested when they can to prevent wear-and-tear on the leine.

0.0 lb. - Leather Costrel. This is a pitch-lined leather waterskin with a cork stopper. It also has a strap to throw across your chest.

1.0 lb. - Hooded Hunting Cloak. Border Quality fabric. Most Cimmerians do not use hooded cloaks. They don't like hiding their faces. But you have one picked up at the trader's. The hood keeps the rain out of your eyes at times. Like all hunters, you use your cloak to double as a tarp shelter, a rain pancho, warm clothing, forest camoflage, and a sleeping bag.



Legs

0.5 lb. - Sandals. High Quality leather.

0.5 lb. - Sandal Leggings. High Quality Winter wear. These fur lined leggings attach via leather straps to the sandals, making a type of winter shoe that covers the legs to the knee.

1.0 lb. - Knife. This is a simple, wood handled iron all-purpose knife that you use for hunting. The leather scabbard straps to your sandals at the calf.

1.0 lb. - Kilt. High Quality fabric. This is a long, heavy, calf-length kilt. The colors of the Blue Fox clan are embroidered along the hem in black and blue.



Total Weight: 8* lbs.



*Drachena will give Thrallan a steel-tipped hunting spear as a gift when he completes the deasghnath. This will increase his weight total to 10 lbs.
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Postby Supplement Four » Mon May 09, 2011 1:43 am

Female Characters

-3 STR, +1 CON, +1 DEX, and +1 to either INT, WIS, or CHA (player's choice).
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Postby Supplement Four » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:46 am

BRANOC TRUEBLOOD

Image


In the last year, Branoc has been training with the Watchmen.

Who are the Watchmen? This is a group of warriors who have no other vocation but to protect the clan. The clan supports them, and they serve the clan as the elite protectors.

Sure, all men in the clan are warriors, and all warriors serve the clan. All the men make up the fighting force of the Blue Fox when the need arises. And, all men spend three months out of the year serving on the Watch. During the rest of the year, though, these clansmen go back to their normal, daily lives and whatever profession they've learned to do.

Each of the player characters are like this. Caelis is apprenticed to the town's smith. Thrallan is a new hunter amongst the clan. And, Silaigne is a trapper. For a quarter of the year, each of them will serve on the Watch, once they become accepted as warriors. Once their time on the Watch is completed, they will spend the remaining 9 months going about their normal lives.

But not Branoc.

Branoc, as of last game session, has become a warrior in the sight of the clan. He is now a Watchman. His entire life, now, is devoted to the safety of the clan.

It's not easy to become a Watchman. There are only nine Watchmen, total, led by Eanbotha. That's three groups of three, all lead by the clan's warchief. In order to become one of these nine, there has to be a space open. And, if there is a space, the recruit trains with the remainig Watchmen for a year, at which point a vote is taken on the recruit's admitance.

Branoc made it. He was the Ar Graiis. He is the chieftain's son. And, he's proven himself in mortal combat against a fair enemy as a warrior to be reckoned with.

You see, Branoc's deasghnath was much more than just impressing a girl. Branoc would not speak of it. He wanted to tell Thrallan, but he couldn't. His honor would not let him. And, he hoped that his real brothers, Thrallan and Caelis, would eventually see why he did what he did.

Branoc had to show the Watchmen that he had what it took to be counted an equal among them.

That, more than his love for Girdra, is why he did what he did.

But, he'll never tell you this. It's something that he hopes you will figure out on your own.





Branoc knew he was accepted among the Watchmen when someone threw that axe into the ring after Branoc had defeated the Grath warrior. Branoc didn't even have to look. He knew it was one of the Watchmen. And, with that axe, he chopped at the Grath's neck until he separated the head from the body and held it in his hands. At that moment, Branoc knew, he was a Watchman.

This could be one of the most important days in your brother's life. He has been accepted as a Watchman. He has asked the woman he loves to spend the rest of her life with him. And, he has become a man--a warrior--of the Blue Fox Clan.

Don't think that he doesn't know of the risk he's taken to gain what he wants.

Like what everyone else in the clan is thinking but not verbalizing, Branoc hopes that the Grath do not learn of what happened to their wayward warrior.

Thrallan was right when he said to Branoc, "This could start a war with the Grath that would threaten us all."





You are starting to hear people call Branoc something else than his given name. They're calling him "Trueblood". Branoc Trueblood. This started among the other Watchmen as Branoc has trained with them over the last year. Most of the Watchmen (most are around 6th level) have little respect for Branoc's twin brother, Caelis, whom everyone calls "Redbirth".

But, blood is blood, and Branoc defended his brother everytime Caelis was slighted. One of the Watchmen recognized the honor that Branoc displayed defending his brother and called him "Trueblood". The name has since stuck, especially since some recognize Branoc as Finn Elder's "true blood", unlike his brother, Thrallan.

So, now, the boy, Branoc, is no more.

In his boots strides the man, warrior, Watchman: Branoc Trueblood, of the Blue Fox Clan.
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Postby Supplement Four » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:03 am

Cimmerian Blood

Game Session V Outline





I. WET WOOD AND A NAKED BIRD.

So, we play out the encounter I described to you. Caelis, Thrallan, and Silaigne are sent to the wood to gather sticks for the fire of the Grath warrior that Branoc killed. The festival of the Beltain is over. And, these Cimmerians have been blessed by good weather. But today, the sky turns grey. Remember, no matter what, a fierce lightning storm rages across the heavens. (I was thinking that this could also symbolize Crom battleing with some evil as the events take place down here on earth, good vs. evil).

Stenna has already left the village. Just before the brothers were sent to the wood, Stenna and her young kids made their goodbyes. They're on the road now, back to their homestead.

A slight drizzle begins to fall. This will not only put some urgency into finding the wood--they'll want to gather it before it gets wet--but it will also add a very cool atmosphere to the entire scene. Think about it. Out in the woods. Grey. Overcast. Lightning storm behind the clouds. And a foggy drizzle.

Is that a figure I see out in the woods, moving from tree to tree? Can't see. Grab your spears and drop your wood! Oh, ****! Wait...it's only Chani....running around naked again.

She laughs like a sylvan forest creature and hops over to the pod where she jumps in to skinny-dip (and probably bathe).

I won't dwell on this encounter too long...I just want to introduce Chani and give her some character. It will only go longer if either of the players interact with her and it's going well. I always make room for memorable roleplay moments. I will draw attention to her "lopsided" eye--and how she never talks about what happened to her.

In the end, the game is really about characters, right?





II. A HOODED BIRD.

Just when I think we've played this part enough, I'll draw Bill's attention. Silaigne catches movement out of the side of his vision. He looks up. It's a low flying hooded crow--circling, just above the tree tops. He can draw a line to where it's circling--it circles a spot on the northern trail....the trail that Stenna travels back home.

As I said at breakfast, I'm hoping this will spur action. I'm picturing Silaigne dropping everything and breaking for the northern trail where the crow circles--thinking Mialee might be in trouble. I will reward with experience points every character that immediately goes to the ambush site. If they, instead, go back to the village for help, two things will happen: 1st, experience for the encounter will be a lot lower (and maybe zero, depending on events); and 2nd, by the time they get to the village, gather up a relative or two, and get to the ambush site, the fight will be over. Stenna and the others will be dead, and Mialee will be missing--and, they'll have no idea which way she was taken (but, they will know the general direction to the Grath lands).

If the players do as I hope they will and immediately run, non-stop, to help Mialee and Stenna and the others, They'll be moving through the misty, almost foggy woods, avoiding tree trunks and jumping downed logs. They'll reach the face of the cliff that rises up to where the northern trail is. They'll have to climb, as fast they can.

I don't want to spend a lot of time on this run. I want to build the action and keep it suspensful. I'll probably have each character roll a STR check for the run, then a Climb check, and add the two checks together. This will give me an order at which the characters arrive at the top of the cliff where the trail is located. I'll also remind them of how atmospheric this is: Their hearts beating in their temples. The lightning. The mist and drizzle.

When they get to the top, pulling at grass to pull themselves over the cliffface, their hands and bodies caked with mud from the drizzle and the dirt, they'll begin an all-out run up the trail to where the crow is circling. The trail bends right around a copse of trees, and coming into sight is a little boy, staggering. Barely holding himself up.

It's little Jozan. He's 5 years old. His right eye is closed, and that side of his face is starting to swell. It looks like he's been struck on the head with a blunt weapon.

The little boy drops. His left eye is open, but he's seeing past the PC's. He's in shock due to his injury. He's incoherent. Not even crying. He seems to be gulping at air--having trouble breathing.

I'll have Thrallan stay with the boy. This actually makes sense, too, because Thrallan has the best Heal skill. He's +1, while Caelis is -2 and Silaigne is +0.

I kinda hate that you dropped out of the game because your character has so many skills that are lacking in the other two. There are many areas where I planned to make Thrallan "shine". And, as an NPC, he just won't be around the two PCs the way he would have been.

But, back to the story...I'm sure the PCs will race up the trail, either following the path around the copse or through it. If they go through the copse, they'll get a chance at stealth. I'll give them a chance to catch the ambushers by surprise. They can hide in the woods, make a quick plan, and hopefully take advantage of their situation.

If they run around the copse on the trail, they'll come upon the scene (and they'll be able to see this from the copse, too, if they go that route).

Downt the trail a bit is Stenna's wagon. It's tipped on its side. The two donkeys are down. One isn't moving. The other lies on its side but still raises its head as it it's trying to get up but can't. There's a javelin sticking out of that one's neck. I'll describe how the donkey makes a sound and slaps it head up and then back down to the earth. Obviously, it's dying.

Without drawing attention to it, I'll tell the players that the donkeys are pointed towards them. An alert player will catch on that Stenna was probably attacked on foot, turned the wagon around, and was heading back towards the village before the wagon tipped. A player that figures this out or mentions it gets extra XP for the encounter.

Just behind the wagon, partially behind the cover of it--because you can only see him from his waist up as the wagon blocks the rest, you see a Cimmerian. He's about 16 years old and got flowing black hair, of course, and he wears a white, blousy shirt common among Cimmerians of all clans. He's got a javelin in his hand, and it's raised high. He slams it down into the ground at his feet. You cannot see past his waist because of the up-turned wagon. Later, the PCs will see that Stenna lies at his feet. She's unconscious, lying on her back (-4 hp) at the feet of this Grath warrior has just slammed his javelin into the plam of her hand, stapeling her to the ground.

If the PCs are in the copse, he will not notice their approach. The PCs will have surprise.

If the PCs came bounding around the copse on the trail, the Grath warrior will see them.





III. NOTES ON THE CAMPAIGN'S FIRST COMBAT ENCOUNTER

This next part is hard to plan as it will probably involve combat. Here's a few notes...

There are three Grath in the area. The first is the one I described above. He's a 2nd level Barbarian. Next to him, completely hidden by the wagon, is another 1st level Barbarian. This one has just cut the head off of little 8 year old Regdar. Any PC who studies the wagon (probably from the copse before they are detected, but could happen in a number of ways) will notice the little boy's head hanging from the front, right wagon wheel. The head is tied to the wheel by its hair.

If the PCs spend long enough in the copse, they might detect this hidden enemy. Or, who knows what will happen in a combat encounter. One PC may try to flank the Grath using the woods as cover. If so, we'll use Hide and Move Silent checks and see how it goes.

My guess, though, is that he'll remain undetected because the PCs, especially Silaigne, will be so enraged that they'll probably charge the Grath. I know Silaigne will be looking for Mialee, and he won't be able to find her.

The hidden Grath, if he detects the PCs before he is detected (if he knows he is detected) will watch the PCs thorugh the cracks in the wagon boards. At an opportune moment, he will spring up and throw his javelin at the closest PC.

If the Grath standing over Stenna detects the PCs, he will use a Ready Action with another of his javelins (he has three, in a javelin quiver on his back), placing the point at Stenna's throat. "Come any closer, mate, and I'll stick her through, I will."

The third Grath has Mailee. He took one of the blankets from the wagon, wrapped the little girl with it, then through her around his shoulder like Santa Clause heading for the chimney. The more time the PCs spend with the two Grath at the wagon, the longer this one has to get away.

I'm thinking that the third Grath will get all the way to their hideout cave before the PCs catch up to him, but I will reward good play. If the two PCs catch this third Grath before he gets to the Cave (Howling Cave) for the ritual rape and sacrifce to his god (the demon, Ollam Onga), then I will reward them some major XP--probably taking them to 2nd level right there and then.

Most likely, though, he'll make it back to the Cave, and the PCs will have to track him there.



Also note that Mellie, Mialee's 12 year old older sister, is lying in the grass near the wagon, not that far from Stenna. She's in the negative hit points, too. So, she might die, or she might be saved, depending on dice throws and if she is found. If combat ensues with the Grath that pierced Stenna, there's a chance that the PCs stumble over her while in melee!

So....

Mialee is missing from the area.

Mellie, Mialee's 12 year old sister, has been struck and is dying, in the negative hit points.

Stenna is dying, in the negative hit points.

5 year old Jozan, the PCs saw first on the trail. He's in shock, probably dying.

And, 8 year old Regdar, is already dead. Being the oldest male, I figure he put up the biggest fight, or tried to, at the ambush. At least, if any of the others survive, that's what they'll say. I'll make the 8 year old kid a hero. But, he's got his head hanging from the wagon wheel.

I designed this encounter this way for a number of reasons, but on top of all the story aspects, this gives the players some experience with the healing rules. There's plenty of people to try to save. I'm actually being a bit generous by not making them dead already. If three Grath warriors, even if they were 1st and 2nd level, attacked an old lady (Commoner class) and 5 children (the oldest being a 12 year old female and a 8 year old male), they probably would slaughter them.



And, at some point during the combat scenario, the PCs may notice that both the Grath warriors are not wearing shoes. (They took them off to climb the thicket trees...see later.)




IV. THE CHASE.

At the earliest logical point, I'm going to have the two Grath run. They're not dumb. The Urrogh village isn't far away, and if they get stuck here, more warriors from the Blue Fox clan will show up. They've done what they needed to do...take their revenge on the Urrogh for taking one of their own. They've got a young one, and they intend to have their priests rape and kill the 4 year old virgin to appease their demonic god. It is, of course, the PC's job to stop them.

When the Grath bolt, I'm going to start a chase. They're going to run south. On a 5+ Knowledge (Local) throw (which should almost be automatic), the PCs will know that south leads to a forbidden land. This is called the Blood River Basin. Finn has declared that area off limits because a tribe of proto-Cimmerians live there. These are the cave-man-like-ape-creatures I told you about. They're called the Chakan, and they're 3 HD creatures, so I really don't want the PCs running into them. If they do, they'll run into only 1 of the creatures (although the players won't know this. I'll make them believe that they may run into a clan of them, 5 or 6 of them. These are young Cimmerian warriors, and they should be leary of such things.)

If they run into the Chakan is a matter of a dice throw. It depends on how long they spend in the Blood River Basin and where they go in the area. I've set up some encounter chances depending on where the PCs go.

The chase begins with the Grath running up a slope from the trail into the tree line. The slope crests, then is a gentle slope downward. Picture moderate forest, downed logs, vines, scrub. The soil is very rocky since we're in the foothills of a major mountain chain. Boulders and smaller rocks evidence themselves here and there. Foot purchase is difficult for the skree.

I've set up a 5-round chase with a couple of obstacles. The Grath who speared Stenna (his name is Gerald) will lead the way (since he will bolt first, and he's the "leader" between the two Grath at the combat encounter). There's a jump they make over a log, and the Gerald dives between a "V" where a thin tree branches into two directions. PCs may try to catch up with the Grath during this chase if they roll well. We could end up stopping the chase and having a combat right here on this slope. It all depends on dice rolls.

I won't force it, but I'd like to set up Gerald as a recurring bad guy. I hope he lives for that reason, but if the PCs manage to kill him, I'll give them better than regular XP for it.

I pre-rolled the two Grath as they ran the chase. Gerald did very good--the PCs are going to have a hard time catching up with him. It's not impossible, but I rolled extremely well on all the stunts with Gerald (which is where I got the idea of making him a recurring bad guy).

Gerald's clansman, Bower, isn't so lucky. He makes it over the log, but he doesn't get through the "V" tree. His leg gets caught, and he falls.

This will be an interesting twist on the chase, depending on where Bower is in the initiative line. I imagine Bower will be second, after Gerald, and the PCs will see him get stuck and fall at the base of the tree. I like this dynamic. There's only two PCs. So, does one stop and fight this Grath? As deadly as this game is? Do both of them stop and let Gerald get away? Or, do they keep chasing Gerald?

I'm going to be interested to see what the players decide.

Plus, there's always the chance that Lee will have Caelis at some point during the Grath encounter throw one of his hatchets. If he its, he could potentially kill one of these Grath flat out. An event like that could change this entire outline.





V. A FALLEN GRATH.

If one of the Grath does fall or is captured somehow in all of this, I'll do what I told you at breakfast. The Grath will be down on the ground, the PCs over him. They'll be trying to get info out of him--probably where Mialee has been taken. Depending on how the players do, I may give them a clue or even say "Howling Cave". What I do depends on if I think the players need help or need to be rewarded for good play. Quickly, though, they'll see the downed Grath have his neck straightened, as if something invisible was pulling at his head, and then, at an inhuman speed, his head will flash one way, then another, snapping the neck. The Grath will be dead.

I like your idea (which I use later...keep reading) of having the Grath get up after a time. If the PCs spend a length of time around the body, eventually, at a dramatic moment, it will get up, it's head not supported any longer by bones. They'll have to fight the zombie.

Most likely, though, they'll leave the body before it rises. And, if this happens...I've got other plans for the downed zombie...keep reading.





VI. BLOOD RIVER BASIN.

The chase ends abruptly. The gentle slope drops at a 40 foot cliff. There are these huge (much bigger than normal) trees, called Thicket Trees, that are growing immediately past the cliff down in the basin. These trees are unusual in that they grow tall but have these long, thick branches that grow out from a central location on the tree. The out-growing limbs are so thick that one wonders how the tree stands or grows that way. The thicket trees grow in clumps, and sometimes the limbs grow into the limbs of close-by trees. Thus, the name, thicket trees.

I wanted a neat, Hollywood-style chase and combat environment, so I invented the trees. So much of Conan is set in the "real" world, that I wanted to add something a bit more fantastic. These trees are believeable--I mean, the Red Woods exist, right? These Thicket Trees are just extinct today.

At the end of the chase, Gerald will not slow down. He'll run for the cliff and jump, then catch himself in the vines that are growing like a net over the thicket trees. There's one just 15 feet from the edge of the cliff. He'll scamper around and take off along the limbs of the tree.

I've set up a map of the Thicket Grove. This will be an interesting cat-n-mouse chase.

If anybody falls or climbs down into the basin, I'll also roll for encounters with the Chakan than I described earlier.

Down in the basin, there's a camp spot where the Grath camped before pulling off the ambush on Stenna's wagon. If the PCs find this, they'll find the Graths' shoes. Also, I'll use this spot to give the PCs any reasonable type of equipment they may need (bandages, food, water, maybe even a weapon or a shield--it just depends on if they find the spot, what they need, and how they've played. If they deserved to be rewarded, I'll give them something. If not, then only the basics are here.

Either way, though, there will always be one set of bronze shin guards. Bower took these off so that he would be more quiet and because the guards interfere with his climbing. This will be a piece of armor the PCs can pick up (and there may be additional items...as I've described).

There's a lot that can happen in the basin, between the patch taken on the thicket trees, the rolls to encounter the Chakan, falling to the ground, and all the places to hide among the shrubbery down on the floor of the basin. Plus, the PCs may locate the Grath camping spot (it's just this side of the Blood River--if the PCs follow the river north to find a safe place to cross without swimming, they'll find the camp).

The basin got its name from the swift, cold, mountain river that runs through it and the red-dirt-clay. The ground has a lot of iron in it from the mountain, turning the dirt red. This dirt gets into the river, giving it a red hue.

The Blood River is cross-able at the north end of the map. But, the Thicket Grove is at the south end of the map.

Gerald will try to make it the entire length of the Thicket Grove, crossing the entire basin on the limbs of these strange trees. If he can stay ahead of the PCs (I haven't pre-rolled this part for Gerald. He can fall just like anybody else), the Thicket Grove will eventually end over a swampy region where the vines get thicker. Some of the Thicket Trees are rotten in this area, and they may break if anybody gets on them.

Gerald will grab a vine, swing away from the last tree in the grove, then let go to fall into the Blood River.

The current is quite strong here. Not too far downstream, the river ends into a waterfall. This will test a character's Swim skill. Plus, items not secured may be lost in the rapids. Gerald will try to swim across the river and climb up on the opposite bank.

I'm assuming that Gerald will make it and that the PCs will see him and know where to go. But, if Gerald loses the PCs, they'll probably look for a trail. There won't be much trail to find since Geral used a vine to drop into the river. If this happens, I'll have the PCs find Mailee's bowl that she used for a helmet along the river bank, north of where they are. They'll assume that the bowl floated down from the north (which it did), and if they follow the river northwards, they'll find the spot to cross the river and the camp site I mentioned earlier.

If the PCs do go north, there is a small chance that they will catch up with Rood, the Grath that has taken Mialee. Maybe they catch sight of him, or maybe they hear her scream that is suddenly muffled. It all depends on if the PCs go this way and a dice roll. If they do go this way, I'll give them a higher dice throw for an attempt. If they get the attempt, they'll get a Listen check at night and both a Spot and Listen check during the day.

If the PCs do see Gerald drop into the river and climb to the other side, they can follow him. To spice things up, the first PC that follows Gerald will grab a vine that turns out to be this long, thin, tree snake, called a Vine Snake. These snakes are incredibly think and long (only 2-4 inches in diameter, but averaging 20 feet long). They can grab and swing, but the head of the snake will curl up and start snapping at its uninvited rider.

The encounter is not as dangerous as it sounds as the PC just needs to let go of the snake and drop after the first attack. I could get lucky on the attack, but that's what Fate Points are for. If the PC makes it to the river, the snake will also drop into the river. I want to make this moment very tense for the player. He doesn't know where that damn snake went, and now it's under the water. Where will it pop up and attack him?

Unknown to the player (this is strictly a "get him scared" moment), the snake isn't a strong swimmer. It dropped into the river, got caught in the undertow, and went over the falls. I may tell the player, as he swims for his life to the opposite side of the river, though, that his foot feels something slide past it. Then, I'll roll some dice behind the screen and not say anything. That should give the player the heebee-jeebies.

So, the Blood River Basin looks like this....

The Basin is uneven ground, rocky, with lots of hiding places in the form of scrub brush sometimes reaching 6 or 8 foot in height, but averaging about 5 foot. The area is distinguished by its red dirt and clay.

The east side of the Basin is a 40 foot cliff that leads into Blue Fox territory. The main trail is not far from the cliff.

The south side of the Basin features a large, long, egg-shaped grove of Thicket Trees, with their interlocking branches. Below the grove is another cliff that drops into the Hoath Plain.

The west side of the Basin is bordered by the Blood River. Consisting of mountain run-off, the river is extremely cold and hued red due to the red clay and dirt. At places, the river is quite calm, and fordable by walking across. At other spots, especially where the river runs off the southern cliff, the river consists of a strong current and rapids created by large rocks.





VII. ON THE TRAIL OF THE GRATH.

Once the PCs make it to the western bank of the Blood River, they'll be getting close to the Grath hideout in Howling Cave. The terrain is much like that on the other side of the Blood River--all uneven ground, rocky, hilly, with plenty of gullies and even a few copses of regular trees. Howling Cave will be hard to find in this region without a skilled tracker. My original idea was to focus on Thrallan and his skill at tracking. I meant to try to make him the "star" of this section. But, since the character probably won't even be in this section of the adventure, I have to come up with contingency plans.

The goal is to find the entrance to the Howling Cave--the place where Mialee has been taken to be sacrificed.

Here's some other ways to find Howling Cave (besides following Gerald or Rood to the cave).

1. They can attempt to track Gerald. Silaigne has a shot, with Survival +6. (Thrallan's Survival +9 was a much better chance, though.) Caelis, at Survival +2, is no help, though.

2. Gerald is wet from being in the river. If they are hot on his trail, and Geral is in sight, they can just follow him. But, if they are close behind Gerald without having him in sight, I'll give them some easier Tracking throws to follow the water trail he leaves behind here and there. At night, the DC for this will be much harder, though.

3. There's a small chance that they catch sight or hear Rood (much like their chance to see him at the north end of the Blood River above). If this occurs, then I'll give Gerald a chance, too. If Gerald also knows of Rood's approach, Gerald will use stealth to hide, follow, and try to support his clansman. If the PCs catch sight of Rood and plan a quick ambush, they, themselves may be ambushed by Gerald before they spring the attack. This could turn into quite a cool encounter if it works out this way.

4. If it's at night, the PCs might as well stop and rest. They're not going to get far with tracking, and the PCs need to eat and sleep sometime. If they persist in the dark, they may get lost. There is a 0% chance of running into a Chakan on this side of the Blood River during the day, but at night, the Chakan sometimes cross in search of game. If the PCs insist on moving in the dark, the chance of encountering a Chakan out in the dark triples.

But, I've got a neat idea based on your zombie idea. If the PCs camp at night while on this side of the Blood River, and if they've killed on of the Grath previously, then they will see the dead Grath walking towards Howling Cave. He will ignore the PCs unless attacked and make for the shortest line back to the Cave. If a body part is missing, then he will be draining blood and innards and probably carrying the missing body part. If the dead body can't walk, it will crawl. And, don't forget that it will be wet from crossing the Blood River.

All the PCs have to do is follow zombie, and it will lead them straight to Howling Cave.

If, for some reason (maybe a Chakan encounter?) the PC's can't follow the zombie at night, then, when day breaks, there will be a fairly easy to follow trail of blood and guts to the Cave.



Finding the Cave will start the next chapter in this campaign.





Comments and suggestions welcome.

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