Low Road Session 1 Play Report
I had my first session of Low Road recently! I had fun running but I am new to Lamentations and messed some things up, and even messed up my own prepared material. I was feeling awkward and flustered with the system and travel, but my players seemed to enjoy it.
There is still time to join in if there is interest! In the Eldwood, events can transpire like a dream. You might awaken with close friends who you have never met before or strangers might come out of nowhere and immediately become trusted companions. When you cannot trust your eyes because of Wyld Elf trickery, the strangeness of the world is accepted and endured with a grim resolve.
I'm going to be doing reports of this game as an ongoing series to get everyone caught up each time after a session. We didn't get to do too much just because we had to make characters and the players decided to do some downtime actions.
So this time Ellisar (Elf played by Zelda), Alora (Fighter played by 7th), Johannes (Thief played by Owl), and an Unnamed Magic User (Nathan) took a job to deliver some casks of alcohol to the brewer's cousin who is the innkeeper at a way-rest inn called Elf's Rest.
This was an odd job and the party saw so immediately. He was paying a handsome fee of the usual Road Wage (1 Gold per day of travel, quite nice in a Silver Standard) plus double if they could arrive at the way-rest in two days. It is usually a four day journey, but it can be done in two days with haste, fortitude, and luck.
Why was this spirit so important? Why must we arrive so quickly?
"It's for a local festival. There would be a scandal if it wasn't there."
They accepted this explanation with doubt and set to trying to dig up information. Ellisar remembered tales of the Wyld Hunt that were said to roam in that area, stealing humans and taking them away to their hunting grounds to act as prey in their great game. After chatting up some locals, they discovered that Barns Brewer sent off a shipment of special brew to his cousin yearly, but this year his shipment never arrived and he didn't hear about it until now.
They also heard that local girls were scared away by badgers from some springs they were bathing in near Four Kings. The girls say the badgers had weapons. The townsfolk assume they were drunk or foolish.
They also heard bandits haunt the roads: the Moon-Eye bandits, as the townsfolk call them. People who have survived say they have great wide-open eyes that are a silvery blue like the moon and that their fingers are stained with blue powder. They are said to abduct people, especially children.
They purchased a donkey and loaded him up with suspiciously few small unmarked casks of this spirit.
Setting off at a swift pace, they passed by an unmapped trail: a lichen-lined stair with small animal prints leading from it in moist silt. They continued towards their goal, through a trail with trees hanging over it like an arboreal tunnel. Shifting shadows flitted between the trees as they sat by their campfire.
The next day, they continued their travel on a rocky path, passing beneath bizarrely suspended pillars of stone, hanging over the trail, forcing them to duck. They approached a rock wall, honey-combed by burrowing holes and out of them sprang these hideous giant centipedes. Immediately, Ellisar was knocked unconscious as the creatures attempted to burrow into her skin.
The others took her and ran, ripping out the monsters from her and fleeing with their cargo. They passed by a wide-open bearded stone mouth, a great gaping entrance to a dark hall-way. Next to it, a message was carved in dwarven "Let my brother's sleep."
Finally, arriving at the way-rest, they spied a strange symbol adorning a rock outside the inn, Ellisar recognized a great presence resting over the place, at once protective and watchful. The innkeeper treated them like heroes, and Ellisar's wounds were tended to. A Faerie Ward hung in the window, a charm meant to keep Wyld Elves away, and holly was hung up over the oaken beams supporting the ceiling. They sat wounded but well as the innkeeper showered them with free beer and food. There were others in the inn: an aged scholar and his ward, two dwarves bickering over a map. and a lone priest deep in his cups.
After a chat with the innkeeper's sons who were acting as waiters, they quickly learned that there was no festival. Johannes approached the innkeeper looking for answers. The innkeeper took him to a back room and explained that his ancestor had once taken care of the Huntmaster of the Wyld Hunt. In return, the Huntmaster made a pact with the man that his house and his blood would always be under his protection so long as they always supplied the ale that the old innkeeper had given him.
He begged Johannes to keep this a secret as it would harm his business if word got out his fathers dealt with the Elves. Johannes agreed.
They also spoke with the scholar, determining that the scholar was here to learn more about local customs with the Wyld Elves on a mission from Four Kings University. Johannes refused to tell them anything, but they agreed to escort the professor and his ward back to Four Kings for Road Wage.
Alora determined that the priest was very sad. The holy man claimed to be looking for his father but seemed to be grieving what he would have to do to find him. Ellisar could tell the priest was Elf-touched, likely having Wyld Elf heritage and she suggested he was looking for Caer Valon, the lost city of the elves. This made him angry and despairing. He accused her of being a Wyld Elf in disguise and passed out.
The dwarves were looking for the location of a tomb, relating to their family. Johannes sold them the information he had on the tomb the party had discovered.
After all this, they went to sleep, only to be awoken in the dead of night by a horrified scream. Rushing downstairs, they discovered the innkeeper looking on with absolute terror as the kegs had holes punctured in them and the precious spirit drained onto the floor.
The distraught priest was outside calling out for his father as a cloud of darkness clawed out from the woods. The whole world fell silent besides this man's desperate plea for his father and the trickle of ale through floorboards. Eyes like fire flashed through the penumbra of shadow, tall figures barely visible amongst them. Out of the darkness stepped a figure: a towering man, with long pointed ears and a whole figure seemingly made of precise angles rather than the natural curves of flesh. His eyes were sapphire pools around feral slits. His cloak was made of wolf fur and he held a wicked blade, seemingly cut from a single ruby.
"Come out, manling!" His voice tore through the silence as the party walked outside.
To be continued...