Thursday Jun 20, 2024

The Missing Lord – Symbaroum Oneshot

Let’s play a game in Symbaroum world. Decided to use FATE instead of Symbaroum RPG.

Notice: This game is played with the Game Unfolding Machine and is not fully narrated. It is a write-up of a game I daydream and jolt down as I play, in summarized notes form. Most dialogues and descriptions are not included. AI images from Bing AI. Enjoy!

Game Setup

Adventure basics

🎲 Start Location β†’ Jungle wilderness, humid, rain, rivers, swamp
🎲 Big Problem β†’ Kidnapping, someone disappeared, it matters. They have to be rescued.

Conclusion: Someone has disappeared, in jungle area. I am deciding to play definitely in the forest of Davokar. Likely starting from the Thistle Hold, the last settlement up north.

Characters

Created a sellsword and a self-thought mystic. We’re probably going in a rescue mission.

Plot hook

🎲 The call β†’ Something happened that it now became very personal

Daevon and Lyara were coming back from a mission, and as they went to report back to their last mission-giver, a Lord of the House Argona (game name decided here), such a Lord has disappeared from his Manor. I spoil myself ahead that this will somehow lead us to the forest, eventually.

A missing job-giver is personal, because he has to pay!

Plot refinement

🎲 What should we do? β†’ We have to transport a valuable object
🎲 What is the catch? β†’ A legendary enemy is on their side
🎲 What is the object? (Oracle) β†’ Useful message

Lord Tharsio had requested us to politically deal with an enemy clan (The Karohar), and retrieve a promise, written letter, as signed by them to him, so he could arrange the political measures needed to prevent a higher scale conflict. PCs have now to find Lord Tharsio and give him his letter, and get paid. Preventing a conflict sounds like an honorable task too, and PCs endorse, but that is secondary (if that is what the deal was about).

The legendary enemy represents an enemy clan, likely wanting to prevent these arrangements: The Baiaga.

🎲 First Lead β†’ They are sending someone to take measures. We have to stop them.
🎲 Consider that β†’ They are rich, and count with plenty of resources

There is probably a political side of the human bastion supporting these barbarians, because the game will start with an Ambush! At the manor of House Argona.

Scene 1 – Ambush!

🎲 Composition β†’ Everyone is melee
🎲 Tactical β†’ Tactical Devices

The assassins were clearly underestimating who would be behind this job. They were not a problem for Daevon and Lyara. One of them is kept alive.

🎲 Are they well-informed (yes) or just paid jobs? (no) β†’ No

The assassins were just sent to check on the manor and kill anyone who entered. No further explanations were given to them. But they are certainly not clan members, but paid, human thugs.

Lyara uses ‘Witchsight of Shadows’ to track personal remnants of Lord Tharsio in his house.
🎲 Spends a FATE point with Flashy (6) β†’ Success
🎲 Clues β†’ Evidence of actions
🎲 Is it a letter or any form of written note? (GM) β†’ No.

Through traces of Lord Tharsio’s soul shadows, Lyara spots a slightly open window on one of the rooms.

🎲 Are there traces of anyone else? (PC) β†’ No, in fact…

Only Tharsio’s trace is there, either he escaped, or someone without a soul dragged him outside…

🎲 Can the trace be followed further? (PC, unlikely) β†’ Requires skill test
🎲 Flashy (4) β†’ Success, at a cost
🎲 Self Corruption damage, Flashy (0) β†’ None taken (-1)

Lyara knows she could trace further his spirit, but that would expose her to dire corruption, this time though, it may have not been much. Lyara and Tharsio decide to follow the trace of Tharsio for as long as it is possible.

Plot Progress (20):
🎲 Some progress was made β†’ 2d4: [3, 2] = 5/20

Scene 2 – The Trace

🎲 Scene prompt β†’ Location itself is the focus, unique place, area of interest, a zone.
🎲 Purpose β†’ Operations
🎲 Activity β†’ Damages, repair

Following the trail through the side window, the Manor’s back side, leads to a construction site of the actual Thistle Hold’s fortified walls. Coincidentally, this part of the walls are under construction, and it is pretty crowded of wall workers.

Daevon asks around whether anyone had seen Lord Tharsio.

🎲 Random NPC’s behavior β†’ Despite desire, is unable or unfit to interact

The workers seem scared of Daveon and Lyara, probably someone scared them to death in order for them not to speak. May not get enough information here.

Since it’s dangerous, any interruptions here?
🎲 Intervention Check β†’ Remains silent, what do characters do
🎲 Daevon attempts to persuade the scared workers, Clever (6) β†’ Fail (3)

Indeed, difficult to learn anything. Lyara suggests going somewhere safe out in the forest, and perform a tracing ritual. It is a terrible idea, but staying in the Hold is definitely a worse idea, if they are being hunted.

🎲 Plan check for exiting the Fort through this area of the walls (Risky) β†’ …suffering, a complication
🎲 Complication β†’ At risk, endangered
🎲 Enemy action (Risks) β†’ Weaknesses, secrets or plans can be exposed
Plot Progress (20):
🎲 It didn’t add much β†’ 1d4: [2] = 2 + 5 = 7/20

Scene 3 – The whistleblower’s run

🎲 Daevon checks for Careful (3) β†’ Fail (1). Spends FP for ‘Sixth sense for danger’

Daevon notices one of the workers is running fast toward, with the clear intention of giving alarm or notice to other colleagues, or someone else. Assassins show up from other areas of the construction site and start running after the PCs.

🎲 Lyara raises ‘entangling vines’ (Stunt) to complicate the pursuers, Flashy (4) β†’ Success (6)
🎲 Daevon’s run fast (Make use of advantage), Quick (4) β†’ Success with Style (7)

The thugs get entangled with large crippling roots, as they roll over the ground and the PCs manage to escape.

Plot Progress (20):
🎲 It didn’t add much β†’ 1d4: [2] = 2 + 7 = 9/20

Scene 4 – Davokar’s Ritual

🎲 Location feature β†’ Secured
🎲 Location looks β†’ Silent, peaceful

Daevon and Lyara find a safe clearing in the forest, it is covered by tall and thick trees, and seems to be an ideal area for taking a break, and think of the ritual.

Challenge idea for the ritual
🎲 Skill β†’ Situation for what PCs do best or are good at
🎲 Conditions β†’ Hard to move terrain

The clearing is however thick, and the roots deep, dark and crippling to move. It is as safe as rough. Yet its nature offers the best conditions for Lyara to perform a ritual. However, materials are needed to perform this ritual.

🎲 Inspiration for the ritual β†’ Remind + Weak + Equipment

“A dagger is needed, which recalls memories of old mistakes” – This is what the shadows of corruption tell Lyara, as she reaches for the shadows. They both start to think hard, about what could that mean.

Daevon pulls his dagger: “This one is to have many, old mistakes”. Lyara develops a bloody ritual, with herbs and blood, the ritual center begins to pull, as if gravity pulled towards it with full strength.

🎲 Forceful (4) against the trigger, Daevon β†’ Fail (1) = 3 Stress
🎲 Forceful (4) against the trigger, Lyara β†’ Fail (-1) = 5 Stress (Mild Consequence: ‘Corrupted Sacrifice’)

As the clearing of the forest begins to grow, the mass towards the center of the ritual began to grow. It smashed their spirit with such a force, that they both feel weakened in spirit. Lyara took the worst part.

Granting a discovery
🎲 Discovery β†’ 1d4 = Reasons β†’ Freedom
🎲 Discovery β†’ Clues β†’ Movement Plans
🎲 Location, where? (Outskirts) β†’ Moving vehicle

The ritual reveals that Lord Tharsio has been subdued by powerful magic, he did not escape an enemy, but he has been trying to escape from his own head.

Lord Tharsio is currently riding a horse, did he have everything planned? In the forest he cannot be that fast, even with a horse, what is he running from, exactly? Let’s follow his trace…

Plot Progress (20)
🎲 It was quite important β†’ 2d6: [2, 6] = 8 + 9 = 17/20

Scene 5 – Ruins of Symbaroum

🎲 Scene prompt β†’ Discovery: Achieve goals, or similar good news, earlier findings, revelations.
🎲 Discovery type β†’ 1d4: [3] = 3 (Clues, Intel)
🎲 Discovery, clues β†’ Answer a question
🎲 Is Lord Tharsio fallen to corruption? β†’ No
🎲 Is Lord Tharsio being followed? β†’ Yes
🎲 What does the follower want? (motives, evil) β†’ Hatred of tradition
🎲 Location of the next scene β†’ Setting Specific: A ruin of Symbaroum

Following the trace leads to a complex of ruins in the Bright Davokar area, various clan warriors of the Clan Baiaga, as a huge Baiagorn stands in the middle of the ruins entrance.

Lyara and Daevon sneak past the Clan Warrior on the utmost right entrance.
🎲 Sneaky (opposed) β†’ 4 vs 5 (Fail!) β†’ Spends a FP for ‘Nature is a powerful ally’ to succeed

Lyara employs a rapid growth of natural bushes among the ruins to cover their path and get past the guards. They were indeed too many, and more would come in case of a battle.

Plot Progress (20)
🎲 Didn’t add much β†’ 1d4: [3] = 3 + 17 = 20/20

Scene 6 – Lord Tharsio of House Argona

In which circumstances we finally find Lord Tharsio?
🎲 Scene Prompt β†’ Object: Something to interact with, be taken, or somehow actionable.
🎲 Inspiration β†’ Request Hidden Annihilation
🎲 Is Tharsio visible, alive, and well? (PC) β†’ Yes, not only that…
What do both factions want? Need to clarify at this point
🎲 Tharsio (good) wants to β†’ Retrieve a stolen item
Clan Baiaga (evil) wants to β†’ Hatred of tradition (rolled earlier)
🎲 Is Tharsio alone? β†’ Weak no
I decide Tharsio is interacting with some sort of elven artifact:
🎲 What is the Artifact related to? β†’ Renown Knowledge

A pillar of ethereal magic, Lord Tharsio was not escaping, he was the hunter all the time. The Clan is defending something. They don’t know he is here… Tharsio stands in front of a powerful source of magic, he seems to be talking to it, whispering. His horse, standing behind him.

He is not alone; despite having one of his henchmen behind him, many shadows surround him, evil shadows. The air is heavy and dense, no longer easy to breath as the previous parts of the ruins. This explains why he was traceable by Lyara. Lord Tharsio is up to something.

Lyara and Daevon approach him

🎲 Intervention check β†’ Invoke random event 🎲 subject + action β†’ Abandon Justice

While Tharsio remains uninterrupted in whatever he is doing, his Henchmen notices the PCs.

“Leave. Now”

A few dead prophets and oracles from Clan Baiaga can be seen, laying nearby, died protecting this pillar.

“We have a job to finish, a contract. We are to be paid. We don’t care about the foul magic you are going through”. Lyara can sense however the strong corruption around. This is becoming pure evil.

I want to make Lord Tharsio talk
🎲 NPC Contribution β†’ Shares about recent trouble and bad news
🎲 Inspiration β†’ Lead Essential Truth

Tharsio: “I understand, now, what the Ambrian queen wants from the Clans. What she cannot take from them, through sword and blood.”

Daevon: “The Karohar signed your pact. Don’t you want that formal letter you asked of us?”

Tharsio: “Indeed, I do. That, is a sign of war. It is begun”

Epilogue

Daevon and Lyara can hear drums and the near vibration of the earth, as an Army of Karohar Barbarians surround the ruins, birds fly away from south to north, escaping the roar of a gigantic army. These ruins are to be the beginning of a new faction, and our heroes are nothing but in the middle of a gigantic clash of Barbarian Clans.

Will they join, or perish?

The End

JeansenVaars

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