Saturday, May 1, 2021

Wow! Sorry About That Impromptu Hiatus Guys! Here's Announcements and Two Very Very Late Session Reports

 Hello hello hello everyone! I am ever so sorry for taking what basically ended up as a four month break from posting to this blog between late January and early May. This was not at all intentional, and really just came down to me being busy with more schoolwork than I normally have during the school semester and simultaneously taking a break from running King of Kings for the very same reason. I still haven't ran any more sessions of King of Kings since January, but I actually had not one but two sessions that I ended up never writing session after action reports for. There were repeated times in the past four months that I felt like I needed to post the session reports but I could never actually bring myself to do it until now for a litany of reasons, some valid some not as much. 

Another major reason for my lack of posting is that I have just been feeling completely sapped of my creative energy and motivation for quite some time. This mostly started in February, when a video game mod I was on the developer team for (it was for the WW2 grand strategy game Hearts of Iron IV, and centered on an alternate history scenario that continued another popular mod into the cold war era, also yes of course I'm someone who is into alternate history) began to split and fall apart due to issues caused by a hostile lead developer taking action that alienated other members. The members who left were ones that I greatly respected and looked up to, and while we tried to make things right back then in February, ultimately nothing would come of it and none of the people who left would rejoin. I remained on the project until mid April, but my involvement was steadily declining as I saw the lead developer and her friends dismantle the content that those former developers made, and it just made me feel so awful. On top of that, my work was repeatedly ignored, underappreciated, or changed without my knowledge/consent, and during an incident where the lead developer made a change for something I worked on without me approving it, I left the team. Apologies for this kinda personal ramble, but its just to explain why I haven't really worked on any creative stuff for a while. That project was one of my main creative endeavors for the past two years, and leaving it and seeing it get taken apart very quickly made me feel demoralized, like no creative project I ever work on would ever see completion.

I still don't feel great about it but I'm glad I'm out of there! And now, I hope to get back into the swing of not just posting things to this here blog, but also running King of Kings again!

For a quick glance into the future, I plan on continuing to post KoK content and session reports, but on top of that I want to expand into posting more of my own original dungeons/adventure locations, reviews of independent RPG content (I already have some lined up by a fellow blogger, and down the line I will receive some books I backed on Kickstarter!), and perhaps original fiction as well. 

But with no further ado, I must now perform the ritual which was to be completed so many months ago: regaling to you (albeit in shorter form than I typically utilize), the events of the two unspoken of sessions of King of Kings from January 2021.

King of Kings Session 5 After Action Report
Dramatis Personae
Arugula Chosen, level one itinerant cleric seeking out a god
Ishthyromeda the Small, level one amazon
Manchugo Coldeswain, level one cleric dedicated to Damir, foreign god of the trade routes
Mithra, level one cleric dedicated to Czehlem, chthonic goddess of wealth, gems, and dyes

In the morning, the four clients of Farzaneh Taburi meet at their patron's house, discussing rumors and talk that they have heard from the surroundings. In addition to rumors they have heard previously, they also mention that a dyeworker girl whispered to Manchugo that the dihqans of the valley sacrifice peasant women to the dragon of the horrible winds at night, while Ishthyromeda mentions a street preacher spoke of the northern dihqans being displeased with lack of productivity on their estates.

After much discussion, the group decides to return to the ancient dinosaur tomb high on the mountain to the southwest, since it is a much safer guarantee of treasure based solely on the knowledge they have at hand. On their way there, they encounter Fire Eater in the guise of an owl, who mentions the deal from the previous session, but they do not act upon it just yet. Instead, they push on to the tomb, although while passing through the holy cedar forest they are almost beset upon by mysterious small green humanoids who cling to the trees and chitter madly. They do not stay to investigate, instead speeding on with their horse drawn cart (a recent acquisition) so as not to be caught by them.

They step past the opening chamber of the tomb and reach the door at the furthest end, a large stone gate held in place by a large stone slab on metal pins. They break the metal pins with their weaponry and use Ishthyromeda's lance and their collective strength to lever the stone slab out of the way. On the other side of the door is a tomb chamber, with a large ancient wooden coffin broken open from having fallen onto the floor, a large skeletal reptilian thing with gemstones for eyes and rusty metal bolted to it bringing itself to its feet. The group proceeds to... well, they repeatedly use turn undead to force the skeletal beast into the corner until it is cowering against the wall and then break it apart systematically until it cannot move, then they remove the gemstones in its eyes. They continue on to the other two wooden sarcophagi in the chamber and do the same to the other two skeletal things, bashing their bones with mace and sword while they cower helplessly. From them they retrieve gems from their eye sockets and ancient motheaten silks from their coffins.

Entering a side chamber, the group see a looming black statue of a large beast, a tall sail upon its back and a long beak-like snout stabbing at the air, its body curled up like a frog upon a stone. Beneath the beast itself, however, the base of the statue has been eroded away by dripping water to reveal a staircase downward. Venturing down the stairs, they find themselves in a long hallway flanked by statues of carnivorous dinosaurs. Manchugo uses his rope as a lasso to grab one of the statues and tear it down, revealing a hidden chamber behind it. They try doing the same on another statue but there is no secret chamber. They investigate the chamber, finding ancient rotted furniture, two immense polearms on the wall, and a small silver icon depicting a king of the dinosaurs. They snatch the polearms and the silver icon and leave. 

They decide not to venture any deeper, and begin to make way for the door to the tomb, grabbing another clay statue of a raptor on the way. They make their way back to Tabur under the cover of night, although they are confronted by large spiders on the road, which they keep at bay by throwing food to. An argument almost breaks out with the guards at town when they have to pay the tariff, but they hide the clay statue by disguising as a mute and paralyzed person, and ultimately give up both a polearm and a green gem they took from one of the skeletons.

Treasure Acquired (After Tribute)
One dinosaur polearm, half the value of a red gem from the skeleton and half the value of the statue (sales were not done during this session, it will be something handled at the start of the next session)
Non-Treasure XP Acquired
Three dinosaur skeletons (45 XP before Prime Requisite modification)

Kusa's Grand Day Out
Dramatis Personae
Kusa, level one cleric of the exiled and half-dead foreign goddess Nasitu-Neb

At the same time that the above group of four was venturing into the ancient mountain tomb once again, Kusa was venturing into the depths of the holy cedar forest without the rest of them, accompanied only by the jinn Fire Eater. (This session happened after the one described above, but in the game itself was occurring concurrently, with Kusa meeting Fire Eater right after the four adventurers left them). Kusa came upon Fire Eater in the form of a jet black lizard with yellow slit-pupiled eyes, to take their offer of guidance to treasure deep within the holy forest. 

Kusa and Fire Eater embark on a dual spirit-journey and treasure hunting adventure, endeavoring to cross the mountains that divide the forest in two to reach an ancient site in the inner valley. They come upon two bird-eating tarantulas, which Fire Eater explains give them a wide berth because the beasts of the eastern portion of the forest respect them as their protector. They note that the beasts of the inner forest are... rather more impetuous. Venturing onward, they come upon a small clearing in a passageway between two large hills, where the pair encounter twelve lumpy green mosslings, little humanoid things made of plant matter. A haggard and wet old mossling greets them, and expresses gratitude for Kusa's role in extricating the fire-loving lizardmen from the forest recently, asking only for a tribute before they allow her passage into the deeper forest. She is asked to pledge the first thing she makes upon returning home to the mosslings, a request which she grants.

Stepping into the woodland valley past the mossling gate, Fire Eater offers to ferry Kusa to the treasure she seeks. They bring their clawed hand close to the ground, inviting Kusa to stand on their open upward-facing palm. Once standing in place, Fire Eater clambers up a tree trunk without even gripping Kusa, bringing the pair to a clearing dominated by a large circle of ancient standing stones, all carved with images of predatory and scavenging beasts.

Fire Eater described the place thus: "this place was a place of honor and of fear, in times long before me... a looming edifice of ancient stories, where the people that lived here long before i was born shuddered beneath the circling vultures and the cloying claws of the valley lions... they knew they were here on the graces of the Guardian of the Forest and of the wild beasts of the valley, and so they gave them their homage... and yet still, the audacity of the last ones who dwelt here put themselves above the beasts they once bowed before in this place... you will find what remains of them, buried in the center of the circle of stones, their narcissism covering their bones with gold."

Kusa asks for Fire Eater's permission to dig here, and they say they care not what they do with the bones. She did not bring a shovel, and so must spend hours digging away at the dirt using only her bare hands and her axe. After several hours a glittering golden femur comes before her eyes. She digs some more, revealing the skeletons of six people, all covered in gold leaf from head to toe and with chunks of gold in their eye sockets. Kusa removes the gold from one socket on each skull, telling Fire Eater that she has done so "So they will still see what their audacity brought them."

Fire Eater replies "these six forgotten traitors shall be left with their vision by your charitable hands... a truer reflection of who you are was never seen... and it is truly a beauteous one."

With her pockets full of gold, Kusa reburies the bones of the audacious ones and climbs back onto Fire Eater's outstretched hand to return the same way they came. She bids farewell to Fire Eater and embarks back to Tabur. Kusa hides the smaller chunks of gold in various folds in her clothing, leaving only the two largest to be seen by the guards at the gate... the guards notice that she is from that exiled people who live on the north of the city, having heard from the northern gate guards about their community. They deign to take only one chunk of gold, whereas normally they would have taken both.

Treasure Acquired (After Tribute and Sales)
One chunk of ancient gold, not sold
Four chunks of ancient gold (320 drachmae, 288 drachmae after the cultic tithe)
Non-Treasure XP Acquired
Discovering the depths of the holy cedar forest (20 XP)

Sorry about how long this post was, I just felt that everything in it had to be done before I could really get back into blogging! Hope you are having a lovely day!