Tok of the Tribe

The Camp

Tok: As far as I know pigs don’t have great eyesight, and I’m on a boar, wearing pants stolen from a Pigman, so hopefully I won’t draw a lot of attention my way. We’ll continue closer, paying close attention to any signs of…anything. Gotta form a plan here. Let’s see what there is to see.

GM: You continue closer.

The mountains on your right loom up nearly straight out of the ground with very little elevation between the ground and the side of the mountain.

The sky grows brighter as you journey on.

Eventually, ahead of you, from out of the mountain juts an odd object. You’ve seen a “metal” piece before – the chief elder had a small one. The object coming out of the mountain looks like that – shiny and “metal” colored. From the distance you’re at (which is still pretty far), you guess that it’s a good half mile long. Then it turns into a structure of what appears to be wood. You’ve seen small walls before – keeping chickens in a specific location, and often around the farm area to keep antelope and other nibbling creatures out. This part of the structure looks like that, but taller.

In front of the wooden part of the structure you can discern a pigman who appears to be moving to the left slowly. To the left of the entire structure and far, far, far off in the distance, you can see some sort of small ‘disturbance’ happening – a disturbance in your sight…as if something was moving, or shimmering, but way too far off to make anything out.

Tok: How is Mr. Bristles behaving? Is he still ok to follow my lead, does he seem anxious or like he wants to go anywhere in particular? If I look back the way we came can I discern my brethren or did we leave them far behind?

I’m guessing my people might be behind the wooden fence, as it seems we may be livestock to the Pigmen.

I’m wondering if it would be good to give Mr. Bristles a breather while I try to contact a Mountain Spirit for guidance. Perhaps I could get a close up vision of what’s happening at the “disturbance”, where our Sisters are being kept, useful ideas or spells? I’m also thinking that if my idea about Pigmen vision vs. smell is correct, a night time venture might be more effective. Yes, I’ll sit down, still holding the rein, and try to commune with a Mountain Spirit to discuss these ideas.

GM: Mr. Bristles is content, as if he’s done this route countless times. He is heading toward the structure.

You’re not exactly certain where you came from, but judging by the location of the mountains, you guess it’s to your left. How or when you got rearranged going this direction you’re not sure. Looking both back and to the left, you see nothing.

You rein in Mr. Bristles, sit, and make an offering. After laying out the food you notice that you have 3 days of food left and are extremely hungry since you hadn’t eated all night. You did drink water during the night and are now down to nothing but the tiniest sip.

You meditate, plead an audience, etc. Eventually the same strange shimmering appears and you assume the same spirit. “Hello child of man”, it says to you.

You ask for a vision of the disturbance. An eagle-eye view takes over your sight. You swoop from above your current position and speed over the sand and rocks past the structure and onward. The ‘disturbance’ comes closer and becomes clearer and soon you see five pigmen on their boars leading a group of 15 young women. The women are all tied by rope at the ankles and shuffling – being pushed and prodded by the pigmen. The women look filthy and scared. Some collapse as they are being pushed and prodded. You recognize none of the women.

As a stretchy piece of gut being pulled to its limit, you zoom backwards to your original position with great speed and ‘snap’ back into your body.

“And such a sight I have seen numerous times as of late,” the spirit says.

You ask about where your sisters are being kept. “Which group of women are your sisters I do not know. All the women are taken to the camp and inspected. Some are killed, some are used as servants, and others are taken away from this world. What has befallen your sisters I do not know.”

Tok: “All of these people need to be rescued, it is not only for my own tribeswomen that I am here to help. It seems that the best way to do this would be to send the Pigmen back where they came from, or make it so they cannot come here anymore. Spirit, can you show me the camp where their prisoners are kept, and the where they leave this world?”

<it> notion about the Pigmen I have, and will want to attack at night. Will try to doze a bit to be better prepared when the time comes for action.

GM: Go ahead and roll a 1d10 to see how long you doze, and also give me a roll against your con.

Tok: 1d10 = 2
1d20 = 17 whoops!

GM: Within a couple hours with a shock to the distant sound of yells, snorts, and screams. You look around quickly. Behind you Mr. Bristles is sleeping with a prairie dog on his head. Both of their mouths are covered in slimy cheese. Your pack is open and the contents are strewn about.

The disturbance that was in the distance is no longer there.

The screams, shouts, and snorts come from the camp. The guard on patrol is running to the left, toward the front of the camp.

It is perhaps an hour or two after midday.

What would you like to do?

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Get Along Little Doggie

GM: Please roll 1d20 against your dex

Tok: I made it exactly! ’Gonna ride that pig!

GM: Give me one more roll – this time against your con

Tok: 3! I super make it =)

GM: You climb the back of the magnificent beast with no problem and it happily takes you on. Visibility is down to zero as you ride off in the direction you think is correct and you ride off into the night. Hours of boredom pass by and the beast never wavers. The fatigue that should be growing on you never does. There’ll probably be hell to pay for it tomorrow, you note to yourself. After what seems like an eternity the sky begins to lighten a little with the coming daylight. Though you can see the sky beginning to turn blue, still there are no stars to be seen. Just the dim but growing blueness of the sky.

As the daylight grows you’re able to see things. You note, with some awe, that about a mile to your right is the mountains. Never having seen mountains close up before, their majesty overwhelms you. Your beast of burden continues along a route that, based on the location of the mountains, is to the west. Because of the speed and confidence the boar shows, you believe that your earlier guess about it knowing its own way home is probably correct. This seems to be confirmed when you begin to make out a large and confusing structure straight ahead of you but at the limits of your being able to determine any definite shapes.

What do you want to do?

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Consultation

Tok: Ok. It seems as if we’re on a hopeless mission with only vague guidelines which we will probably all die from. Guidance or any kind of insight would be nice. To the spirit I will say, “Thank you for coming to me spirit. My brethren and I are on a desperate mission to save others of our tribe who have been taken by pgmen after they killed most of our families. We are strangers in this place and I seek whatever help and wisdom you may be able to provide.” After hearing what the spirit has to say, I think I’ll ask for the portent spell so that perhaps I can gain some idea what to do, where we’re going, whatever…

GM: “The changes in this land have left me weak,” the figure whispers. “You have crossed the remnants of the river and are now in the land of the ‘pig men’. They have taken your tribe people to their village a days travel to the northwest, to the mountains at the edge of the world. From there, I fear that they may pass beyond this world, as others have done.”

If you want the spell cast now, s/he will do so. S/he can also cast a second spell – If you want the spell placed on an item, s/he will do so.

Tok: Since I can only carry one saved spell at a time, I think I’m probably better off with the Sanctuary spell I’ve been carrying around in my warclub. I will say to the spirit, “I am sorry to hear of your troubles. Is there anything I can do to help you? Do you know if these (show it the skystone, and firestone cards) may help us against the pigmen?” If it has the strength, I would like it to cast the spell now.

GM: “It is kind of you to offer assistance. Any water that you may have would be appreciated beyond measure, though your own life may also depend upon any water you may have.”
He pauses.
“Those serdin floggin were used by your fathers to open doors. The pig men have used such floggin to enter and leave this world. Whether the floggin will help you, I do not know.”
It shimmers and wavers for a moment. Then it speaks, it’s wispy voice sounding sad. “On your 12th strike, a slight misfortune will occur.”

Tok: “Spirit, Could we perform the Dampen spell here, upon you to help you?”

GM: “Alas that will only drain the water from me and then return it to me.”

Tok: “I wonder if you and I have a common goal, if we can stop the pigmen, will you regain your strength?”

GM: The figure shimmers slightly. “No, the water stopped long before the pigmen came. My brothers and sisters all dead. Only I am left to wander this region, dispersed thinly among it all. My cousins of earth and air keep me company, but my siblings I have long lost.”

It remains silent for a moment.

“If you were to awaken the overseers of old, perhaps they could return the rain and the rivers. Only one needs to be awakened.” The figure shimmers. "Behind the lair of the pigmen is an entrance to the mountains. To the northwest of here. Enter it and call upon me. I can guide you to the sleeping overseers. If that is in your heart. Otherwise, I have grown accustom to my existence.

Tok: “Spirit, I want to do this thing, and if I survive the quest to rescue my kindred, I shall go to this place and call on you to guide me. I wish you well, thank you.”

GM: As you return to ‘reality’ from your sojurn to the spirit realm, you notice that it has become dark.
Very dark.
Looking up you notice that to the south the sky is normal. However, directly above you the sky is black. There isn’t a single star to be seen in the sky.

Finding your way back in such darkness will prove difficult. Roll a d20 against your int, subtracting 2 from the roll.

Tok: ‘rolled a 9 minus 2 for an adjusted roll of: 7. There’s something over me, isn’t there?

GM: Yes indeed there is. Though you can’t tell what. All you know is that its blocking out the sky in all directions except the south – where you journeyed from.

To: The spirit spoke of others being taken away, perhaps this…thing is going to take away our people? Hopefully the Pigmen will be distracted and busy and we can do something. I’ll look to Mr. Bristles and pat him reassuringly, rein in hand and ask if he is ready to take me to rescue my kindred. Whether he is or not, it’s time we go. I’ll do my best to mount up and head in the direction the spirit told me they are. As we leave I’ll call out to the others “They’re to the (whatever direction the spirit said)!” and go!

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Catching Up

Tok: I should be able to catch up with them fairly easily. I’ll continue on, still paying close attention to my surroundings, and let’s see how long it takes these warriors to notice they’re being followed.

GM: You stumble and slide down the side of the short cliff, spilling a sea of rocks ahead of you.

Skyterror and the group continue to march ahead. One elderly man looks back while marching, stumbles, and continues on. Skyterror raises a spear to the sky in greeting. “I’m sorry for your loss, Tok!” he yells while continuing to march. “We’ve all had losses and we will exact revenge and bring back our folk they captured! I assume you’ve come to help, so let’s go!”

Tok: “Thank you Skyterror, and I offer my condolences to the rest of you, my Brothers as well. Do you know where it is we are headed to, or are you following a trail?”

GM: Skyterror plunges on ahead. “Following a path. We don’t know what these things are or where they came from, but they left a nice thick trail to wherever they went to.”
You reach the other end of the faux river of dirt and rocks and climb up to edge. As Skyterror’s head pops up over the edge of the embankment he comes to a stop. When you’re high enough to see over it you come to a stop too. Ahead of you is a pig faced man sitting on a boar staring at your group.

“Turrrn arrround and grow back! This does nrot concerrn you!” He points and holds up his axe. “Continuer and you rill die. Firrrst and rast warrrning!”

Before you can say anything he rides off to the left, continuing down the edge of the river of rock and dirt.

Tok: Can I surmise if we are headed toward the big tower thing that Ekka and I were at? Wait and see what the others think. I would like to see if I can contact a local spirit for help, but will wait until a good time to try this.

GM: “You’ll rot in hell!” Nightterror yells out. He lunges forward, followed by Whistlereed and Subwanna. They loose their spears at the quickly receding figure. One spear bounces off the hide armor but the other two plunge deep into his back. The pig man falls to the ground showing no movement.

The boar he was riding immediately comes to a stop and begins to scratch the ground, looking for food.

You know you’re not heading toward the tower. That would be ‘somewhere’ south of you. But growing in a community that valued staying close to home, and having taken many days of travel, you’re not too good at determining exactly where to the south of you (southeast? southwest? etc?).

Tok: We need to be sure the Pigman isn’t gonna get up, and I’m guessing my “warrior” brethren will race over there to make quick work of him. If not I’ll dispatch him. If no one else is going to the boar, I’d like to carefully approach him. He stopped like a well trained horse, it’s also the nature of a horse to return to the barn when off-duty. This could be useful…plus (what’s Jeff’s standard RPG line?) “I wanna ride ’im!”

GM: Your band of brothers race over to the pigman and make him dead if he wasn’t already.

You get to the boar before anyone can make dinner out of him.

Roll 1d20 against your charisma to see if he’s partial to you.

Tok: rolls

GM: The boar, which is much larger than the average boar, sees you approaching and saunters up to you, sniffing the air to see if you’re carrying food. You notice that its eyes glow red.

Tok: I think I have a bit of food left in my pack. I’ll offer it a handful, perhaps it likes stinky cheese? The eyes are interesting, do I notice anything else odd about this beast?

GM: It’s beginning to get dark.

The boar takes the cheese from your hand and eats it up. It’s not overly enthusiastic about it, but it’s food and it wants food.

Behind you you hear a fight break out between your comrades.

Tok: Am I able to pat the boar a bit while feeding it, establish a bit of connection there? Does it have some kind of saddle on it, perhaps a rein I can grab hold of, or any gear I can score? Will listen to my comrades while doing this. don’t want to lose the boar to their distraction.

GM: Roll another Wisdom check to see if it lets you pet it. Add +2 to the roll for your holding the cheese.

It has no saddle but it has a rein you can try to grab. If you succeed in the above check, roll a Dex check to see if you grab it. If you fail the above check, roll and subtract 5 for an it’s attempt to evade your hand.

Listening to your comrades it seems that while searching the body of the pigman one man named Toejam found a water skin and started downing the water without sharing it and another named Briarthistle confronted him. You can hear them scampering, grunting, and the occasional fist landing on flesh.

Tok: Okee Doke. I made the Wisdom check with an adjusted 5! I rolled a 10 for the Dexterity check which was close but still good =)

So it’s getting dark. Does the boar seem like it might be in the mood to relax and rest? I’m thinking if everyone is ready to rest up for the night I could go off by myself a ways (Mr. Bristles and I, hey that’s a good name for a boar, if it’s a he…) and I could try to contact the local spirits to see about creating more water for the group, and see about getting any guidance on our quest, about the boar, etc. this is what’s on my mind.

GM: The boar is indeed a boy. It lets you pet it without resistance as it greedily gobbles up the cheese. The boar shows no indicator of wanting to relax or not.

Tok: Can I tell if the others are prepared to rest for the night, or are they still acting like animals? Does it look like Mr. Bristles and I could step off on our own for a bit so I can do a quick spirit commune? If so we’ll do that and I’ll see if sitting down and calming myself, still with the rein in hand, will coax him into relaxing.

GM: A young man named Oakleaf yells out to another “Shindugger, you want some grub?” as he holds out a largish grub in left hand. His right hand is heavily bandaged. The others are indeed looking like they’re preparing to settle down. They’ve already divided up the goodies taken from the pigman, but they are obviously agitated.

The land around you is slightly rolling hills, but dirt dry with no vegetation. You wander off a ways holding the rein to the boar and seek out privacy. Privacy is probably a good idea, you know. It’s commonly believed in the village that Nightterror is to be the next successor of the village Shaman. He believes it wholeheartedly himself and has built his reputation on it. He’s always had a band of young followers, some of which are in this group: Subwanna, Whistlereed, an Firenight. If he were to find out you had Shamanic powers, he would probably become unpleasant.

You find a place within the ‘river’ and around a bend so that you can’t be seen unless someone is seeking you out, and you do your ritual using a day’s worth of food. You sadly note that after tonight you’ll only have 4 days of food left.

You hold on to the reins as you perform your ritual. It might be your imagination, it might not, but Mr. Bristles seems to snort along with your humming. After some time you notice a dim shimmering in front of you. Slowly, very slowly, a figure begins to coalesce. It never becomes a definable figure, but remains a thin apparition. Male or female is unknown. You begin to notice that what you thought was the wind is actually its voice. Listening intently you make out the words “Why have you called me?”

Also, you know instinctively that this spirit possesses the following spells:
Detect Poison
Precipitation
Dampen
Portent

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The Chase

GM: You journey through the growing dark headed west for an hour. By the time night has completely fallen you are directly north of your village. It is a couple miles south of you and you can make it out from the scattered camp fires.

Tok: I should probably find a good spot to rest a bit, eat some of my stinky cheese and whatever I have left. I feel I should meditate and feel the vibe of the place, see if I can gain any guidance.

GM: Besides a thick coat on your tongue from the cheese and waking refreshed from a good night’s sleep, nothing of interest occurs during the night.

Tok: As I wake I’ll pay careful attention to my surroundings, listening, sniffing the breeze, etc. If all seems well I shall continue on my way trying to catch up with my brethren.

GM: Somehow during the night your tracking turned topsy turvey and you wound up heading in the wrong direction in the morning. Not to worry though, you only headed the wrong direction for a mile before you realized that you were approaching your village. With your keep senses in overload and slightly dazed, you turned around and got back on track.

After a day’s journey over the flat, rolling plain, you still haven’t caught up with them. By the time it’s time to rest, you see no trace of them and haven’t been able to determine how close or far away you are.

Tok: I need guidance. I will gather up some of my remaining food as an offering and use my shaker to try and contact a local spirit to ask about my brethren,both captives and rescuers.

GM: After some time chanting, a shimmering raises from the ground. A young man, very similar to the last apparition you saw, appears before you.

“Welcome, son of Earth.”

In response to your questions he closes his eyes and concentrates. “Those who have been taken are beyond my sight. As to the brethren you are following, you are on their trail and should meet them soon. One has been injured, but the rest fare well.”

Tok: “Thank you spirit for your help. Will you place your Detect Poison spell upon my shaker that I may use it to help my wounded brother? I wish you peace. Thank you.”

If we are still headed for the strange hut, that was near water so I should be able to find fresh water soon. I’ll try to get as much rest as I can before setting off again after the rest.

GM: “I have replaced the magic upon your shaker with the ability to detect poison. May it aid you and your brethren.”

He swooshes off in into a stream of water in an s-pattern into the sky.

In the morning you take off. The travel is routing. About 5 miles into your journey you see what appears to be a large lake 2 miles to your right (east).

Tok: Can I still follow the trail? Will I get near enough to the lake to get more water if I continue after them?

GM: The lake is off the the right while the trail forges ahead. You could go to the lake then backtrack to get back on the trail if you wished.

Tok: If I can have filled water skins, I will continue after my Brethren, if not I will go to the lake first.

GM: After 5 hours on the trail, headed northwest, you’re on a elevated part of the plain and you can see that two miles to your right there is strange white hut like you saw at the other river.

Tok: What time of day is it? Can I see any sign of my brethren, or anything other than the strange hut?

GM: It is about noon.
The grass is getting thin and dry here, and appears more so up ahead on the trail.
While standing and contemplating whether to continue ahead or to investigate the hut, you see what appears to be a group of human type figures about 2 miles north of you on the path you’re following.

Tok: I need to know if these are who I seek. Are they traveling to me or away from me? If they are traveling away from me I will I will run as quietly as I may to them until I am close enough to identify friend or foe. If they are already heading to me…hmm, I suppose if it seems like they have not yet seen me I will see if there is some place I might hide until I can learn more.

GM: You stand and watch. It’s difficult to discern movement or the direction they go, but after 30 minutes you conclude that they are heading away from you. You begin to jog in their direction. After on and off jogging for 2 hours, you can make out a ragtag band of men and boys from your village headed speedily north, though not at a run.

Tok: Paying attention to our surroundings and possible ambush spots, I’ll try to catch up with them.

GM: A quarter mile away from them and they haven’t seen you yet. They possibly are too intently focused on the path ahead. You can see them a couple of them stop in their tracks and a few others slow down. Then they disappear over what seems to be a steep incline – some of them jumping, others quickly descending (running?)

Tok: I’m disappointed they didn’t hear me sooner. Perhaps they’re hiding from me and preparing to ambush me? Primates. I’ll head over to one side instead of following directly in their path, try to see over into the place they jumped.

GM: The further north you’ve gone, the scrawnier and scrawnier the grass has become, and the dryer the soil has become. Where you’ve spent your entire life, the grass has always been lush and green, the soil always moist. Now you look out at the last few straggling blades of withered grass and a vast expanse of light brown dust interrupted only by some mountains in the distance that grow closer with each step. The temperature is slightly warmer than before, but parched of the moisture from living things.

You head to the side of the trail that your comrades went on and ease up to the place they disappeared. The scene you see is one you haven’t seen before. It looks to be a river, but without water. Instead of fish there are only rocks. If it were a river, you would be standing on the bank of it. It is a steep incline to the bottom, but the bottom is only 10 feet down. Your friends are halfway across the “river” – about 50 feet in front of you. They blatantly ignore the scenery and trudge on to the northwest.

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The Shaman

GM: You follow a mile long well worn path to the river. The point of the river you arrive at is the junction of two small rivers. There is a rope bridge going across the nearest of the joining rivers to the triangular patch of land in between. There is where your village has most of their farmland, which is mostly grains and tubers. Living a peaceful existence until now, your village had no need to protect the farms and felt that having the village between the farmland and the hunting land was ideal. Across the bridge and in the middle of the farmland there is a small thatch hut to act as cover from the rains, and there is a circular area of stone in the middle of the farmsland that the village Elder would use for ceremonies at the beginning and end of the harvest season.

You see nobody, either at the river’s edge or across the river on the farmland.

Tok: Is this the same structure Whiteflower and I saw on our trek?
I’ll examine the land around me for any fresh tracks. If I can’t find anything useful, and if I can’t remember where there might be a good flint deposit, I’ll head downriver looking for them. I will also keep an eye out for small stones that would work with my gourd rattle project and collect them.

I’ll collect a handful of small stones and tuck them away in my pouch with the gourd. The signs I see, do they lead off in the direction of the strange hut we saw?

GM: You can tell that there were more than 5, and less than 20 people here recently. There are fresh tracks upon the shore and recently chipped stones. You see no signs of a fight or a scuffle.

To get here you came northwest of the village. The strange hut you saw was a 12 hour journey to the west, and ever so slightly south. These tracks head west.

Tok: We could use some insight. I’ve got what I need to make my rattle, so I’m going to do that. Carefully chip out a very small hole and insert enough small stones to get a good sound, and then plug it up with clay. I’ll sit comfortably with my warclub in my lap in easy reach, and begin shaking it softly while I relax and try to contact the spirit fish to ask for guidance to help save/rescue my people from these pigmen, and help for Whiteflower with our brother. Fingers crossed. Shaka shaka shaka…

GM: It will take a day’s food for an offering.

You sit shaking, concentrating, and seeking an audience for 10 minutes. With each passing moment you feel more in tune with your surroundings and the flowing river. A large splash comes from the river and a shining blue lady springs forth from it into the air. Her entire being is a translucent blue, her long dress flowing around her in waves. She glides down to where you kneel and hovers a few feet in front you.

A soft trickling voice comes from her. “Hail, son of Adam. My father has told us you may call. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

Instantaneously you become aware of many things:
1) You may attempt to summon a spirit as often as you wish per day, but your chances of summoning decline with each attempt.
2) You may commune with spirits for information that is within their ‘realm’ of knowledge, and/or you may make requests of them to perform spells. The more minor a spirit (aka low level), the smaller their ‘realm’ and therefore the less knowledge they may have.
3) Different spirits live in different places. Each spirit has a random selection of up to four spells related to their element they may perform.
4) Each day two spells may be performed through rituals OR you may once per day request a spirit to place a spell upon an object that you can then use to instantaneously cast the spell at a later time. To clarify: two spells through summonings or 1 spell attached to an object.
5) This spirit is capable of performing the spells listed out in the attached document.

You tell her what information you’re wishing for.

“The creatures you describe went north this morning, riding upon their beasts, carrying the girls from your village. As to the men you now search for, " Your vision is suddenly replaced by a watery vision – you’re 30 feet above the ground flying toward a small group of 16 boys and men crudely armed, hurriedly following tracks upon the ground. Your vision returns to normal. “They have left this river after arming themselves. They traveled west to find the path of those who raided your village. They have found the tracks and are now following the creatures north. Regarding your brother – with medicine and care he should return to health.”

She shimmers and waits.

Tok: “Dear Spirit, thank you for this information. My people are in great need, and your aid will help me to bring them to safety, thank you. Although I would avoid battle if possible, I fear conflict may well be unavoidable. I humbly ask you now if you may place the spell of Sanctuary upon this club that it may help me in my cause. Thank you.”

GM: “It is done.”

With that she changes to pure water, falls to the ground with a splash, and is absorbed by the ground.

Tok: Far out. Well, thanks to the spirit I know which way my people headed off so I’ll follow after them, listening carefully all the while.

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Coming Home

GM: Walking into the village you can see that of the 30 huts that made up the village, only 9 of them are left standing. In the center of the village, the ‘circle of elders’ which had all elders living in a circle around the chief elder’s hut. You can see that only one of the circle is left standing.

Walking through the remains of the village you see the scattered bodies of the dead mixed among the downtrodden bodies of the living. As you walk past, one man you know sits on the ground staring off into the distance. He looks up as you pass, making eye contact, and saying nothing. Others are sorting through the remains of thier huts, finding what belongings they can, others appear to be trying to rebuild, while yet others are dragging bodies to the outskirts of the village.

Reaching the circle, you can see that the hut standing is not the Chief’s. You can also clearly see that your family’s hut is one of those that has been destroyed. While not burned, it lays in a pile of thatch and wood poles upon the ground. A body lays on the ground outside the hut where the door once stood.

Tok: Rush over to the body to see who it is, and if there’s anything we can do. Concerned that Strongleaf may die from the poison before we can get to him. If this is not him, we’ll need to go to the standing Elder’s hut to see if he’s there. We’ll do all we can to help, but must deal with Strongleaf first before it’s too late for him.

GM: The body is that of your father. He’s been bludgeoned to death. His body is stiff and the blood is dried. You conclude that he’s been dead for about a day. His legs are buried beneath the rubble of the hut. Whiteflower falls to her knees beside the body. She raises her arm to the heavens and cries out “NOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOO!” She refuses to go to the Elder’s hut and instead seems determined to cry try to clean his face, and no doubt try to give him a decent burial. She then begins to look around frantically. She looks up at you with terror, pain, and tears in her eyes. “Where’s Mom?!? Where’s Strongleaf?!?” She starts to tear at the remains of the hut, throwing pieces to the side.

Tok: A father’s place is with his family. There’s a good chance he was killed while defending his family, so I’ll hastily dig through the hut remains to see if the rest of our kin is indeed there.

GM: Both you and Whiteflower dig through the remains of what was once your home. Just behind the body of your father Whiteflower finds the remains of your mother with a stab wound showing on her back. You fight back the grief and continue digging. Eventually you find the crumpled body of your brother. Through the turmoil you almost don’t notice the small rise and fall of his chest. He’s alive, but unresponsive.

Tok: “It is too late to help our Mother and Father,” I say to Whiteflower, “but we may still be able to save Strongleaf if we hurry.” Let’s carefully create some space around him so that we can give him the medicine we’ve worked so hard to get…and do that!

GM: You clear the rubble from on top of and around him. He’s laying on what’s left of a straw mattress so you keep him there for comfort. Whiteflower holds Strongleaf’s head up for you as you give him some of the concoction. He remains unresponsive but swallows the medicine.

“I’ll stay here and watch him” Whiteflower says softly.

Tok: I’m tempted to stay and try some medicine work, but don’t really know yet what that would entail. I’ll leave the medicine with her just in case, and I’ll go to the remaining Elder’s hut to see if I can learn what has happened here and what we can do to help. I’m also keeping an eye out for a suitable dried gourd to snatch up.

GM: On the way back to your siblings you see Bluesky – a friend of your father’s. He tells you that early this morning, just as the sun before the sun rose, the village was attacked by a horde of foul smelly beasts with pig-like noses. The rushed into the village from all sides, setting huts on fire. Some of them rode on strange snarling animals. As people ran out of their huts the invaders captured any and all of the young women – killing any men or older women who got in their way.

You look around and for the first time notice that the only survivors are men and elderly women, and a baby or two from the sound of it. But no young women or girls.

Tok: I will ask Bluesky if there is any plan to track down these beasts and try to find our tribespeople. We can talk about this if he has anything to say, and then I will go check on my siblings.

GM: Bluesky tells you that SkyTerror (an ambitious 14 year old so named because the night he was born the skies let loose an electric flurry from hell that had the baby screaming and crying all night) has been trying to drum up folks to go get the women back. Bluesky is far too old to be of use so he declined and is dragging bodies out of the village to be burned. He says that SkyTerror and the others are at the river bed finding flint so that each of them can fill up on arrows and spears.

You walk back to what was once your hut. Your sister is there cleaning up – dragging the wood, straw, and thatch to the ‘outside’ of the hut. In front of the hut there are two human shaped mounds underneath a layer of straw.

Tok: How is Strongleaf? I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to help him. I’ll fill Whiteflower in on what I’ve learned, and tell her too that I wonder if the hut by the river that we saw has anything to do with these pigmen. I’m concerned that the troop is setting off without any knowledge of what’s out there. If Whiteflower feels she can take care of our brother, perhaps I should go to check on the others at the river, and investigate the hut we saw. What are her thoughts?

GM: Strongleaf remains unchanged. Whiteflower’s eyes are filled with tears and her face is red. She hastily agrees and yells “I want to find whoever did this and make them suffer!” as she throws a beam to the edge of the ‘hut’. A sob escapes her as she cries out “and we need to bury Mom and Dad. Those bastards!”

She says she’ll be find staying here while you go check things out.

Tok: I say to Whiteflower, “I fear this may not be over. If the pigmen believe they have what they want from us they have no reason to return for some time, but really there is nothing to stop them from coming back again. You can save our brother, but you will need to be vigilant here. There is much to be done here, and I suggest that you try to organize shifts to watch for other threats. Would that I could stay here with you, but I feel I can do more good for our people if I go. Know that my love is with you and Strongleaf, and the rest of our peole. I will return as soon as I can.”

And so saying I will hurry off to the river.

GM: She bids you as much adieu as an emotional woman with a spear and a loincloth can do and you head off.

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Visitor in the Night

GM: A calming breeze blows gently over you as Whiteflower goes to sleep. Overhead the stars twinkle, occasionally being obscured behind a thin cloud. You watch and listen to the grass rustle softly. The only disruption from the peacefulness comes from the reappearance of the prairie dog who walks up to your knapsack with only a slightest skittishness. He sniffs through it, bypassing the stinky cheese and going straight for the berries, which he begins to gnaw on with a few clicks and chitters.

Your shift goes uneventfully. Your sister takes over the watch and you drift off to sleep, the prairie dog making a bed within your knapsack.

Sometime during the night you wake and see that Whiteflower had fallen asleep on watch. The prairie dog leans over her head preening her hair.

With the stealth of a pirate ninja, the Elder from your village walks up to the circle of your camp site directly opposite you and looks down surveying the scene. The prairie dog looks up and chitters pleasantly at the figure.

No surprise or fear fills you with the sudden appearance and you sit up lazily, wiping the sleep from your eyes.

Slowly the first rays of daylight begin to make their appearance in the sky.

The Elder spreads his hands. To his left a sprig sprouts from the ground and grows to a tall majestic oak. To his right you see a hawk soaring high above the earth, swooping with the currents. Beside the oak a raging fire roars, consuming the grass and blackening the earth. Next to the vision of the hawk a swift river flows etching its mark in the earth as its surface glistens in the growing daylight.

The Elder looks at you and says “Choose”.

Tok: I choose the right hand, the hawk, and the river. As an artist I like how it etches its mark, water is powerful and cleansing. I stay away from the fire.

GM: With a wave of his hand, the visions are gone. The prairie dog sniffs. Another wave of his hand and a square area of ground is cleared of grass, leaving a bare area. He kneels on this and pulls a few leaves from his satchel by his side and lays them on the ground. Then he pulls a small variety of food items and sits these on the leaves, as if preparing a meager meal.

From his side he takes a small rattle in hand. Shaking the rattle he begins to extol the virtues of the water and air, beseeching the gods of both to come partake of the feast he has prepared. For a full 10 minutes he shakes and sings. Then a large splash and a screech are heard upon the wind.

To the left of the Elder a large carp appears, swimming in midair, circling and swimming in figure eights. From high above a man-sized hawk descents swiftly and lands with a powerful flurry of wings and wind.

A greetings of praise and thanks issues forth from the Elder’s mouth.

“This is one of those who will carry on the lineage, and the one who will intercede for those are are left” he says, motioning to you. “The two of you he favors. Which of you favors him?”

“This one has not seen what lies within the sky and beyond,” the hawk says with a howl, much like that heard during a summer storm. “My words would only confuse him.”

“I will take him,” the carp says with the sound of a distant roar. “Listen to my song, son of Adam.” Continuing his swimming in circles, he begins to sing a lengthy song of words, sounds, and images. As he sings the world fades from sight and thought and your identity is lost within a raging river, a calm pond, a trickling brook. The song comes to an end. “Create for yourself a rattle made of a dried gourd, the pebbles of a stream, and sealed with clay from a river bed. Sing my song and give offerings, and my children will come to you.”

“Tok, the day has come. We must go,” says Whiteflower, leaning above you and nudging your shoulder with her foot. “Wake up, let’s move.”

The prairie dog chitters excitedly.

Tok: “Right on.” I say to the Prairie dog. I’ll get up and quickly gather my things so that we can set off. I’ll tell PD that we have to go with speed, and that I’ll talk with him later. We’ll leave for our village. We’ll save our brother, and then I need to find a dried gourd!

GM: If you look at the map, a straight line will take you through part of the forest. Will you do that, or will you take the round-about way?

Tok: How are we on time, if we go the roundabout way will we get there in time? If so we’ll go that way, but if time seems like an issue we’ll try cutting through the forest.

GM: You skirt around the forest, keeping your pace up throughout the day. You arrive to the outskirts of the village at dusk.

The scene in front of you is one of carnage. Most of the huts have been burnt to the ground, or trampled. Of the approximately 30 huts that there were, only a handful remain standing. A few solitary figures move through the wreckage, picking up the broken pieces.

Tok: Our first priority is to find Strongleaf to see if he is still alive so we can give him the medicine. We’ll be looking for the Elder and our family as those seem the most likely places he might be.

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House on the hill

GM: Shortly after beginning your journey, you reach a river and managed to find a ford across it.  You continue your trek, making great speed knowing your destination and heading straight for it.  For most of the journey the giant 'spear-like' object that reaches to the heavens looms on your left.


After half a day's march you are near the edge of a second river.  Across the rolling plains, about 1/2 mile to your left, you can see an odd looking circular hut like the one attached.  It shines white in the slowly fading sunlight.

Tok: Something to check out later. We have no choice and must get the medicine to Strongleaf. We’ll try to fix this in our minds for later and on we go! We’ll stop to rest only when it gets too dark to continue, with the plan of continuing as soon as there’s enough light.

GM: After 45 minutes of searching you find a place where the river narrows and are able to get across unscathed. After a short time you come to a second river and easily find a ford across it. The darkness reaches its deepest and you can make out the dim shape of a forest looming ahead of you. You decide to set up camp before reaching it.

You have 6 hours until daylight. What’s the watch schedule?

Tok: I’ll take first watch. I will focus intently on all the sounds and scents around me, communing with all that is. That’ll keep me up -shaman style! Whiteflower can have the last watch so I can get some shuteye before we trek off in the morning gloaming.

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Move 1

GM: On the map your village is on the bottom left at the tent icon.  You followed the squiggly line to a small forest, to the mountains (or near it), across a couple rivers, to a round thingy going to the sky, and then to a small forest.


In the forest you met "foot people" – people about a foot tall.  One of them took your pet plant, slaughtered it, and turned it into medicine to reverse the effects of its poison on your brother.

The medicine man, named Gar (because I can't find my notes), tells you to quickly return home and administer the medicine.  Based on the timing, you know that if you hurry, you will arrive home at the last possible day you can before he succumbs to death.  What would you like to do?
 
 
 Tok: Let's waste no time! Whiteflower and I will grab up all of our gear, and the healing potion. I'll ask if the quickest way back to our village would be…and I'll draw a quick map on the ground and see if the Healer has anything helpful to say. Then we'll take off!
 
 GM: "The quickest path is always a straight line", he says.  

A couple old and shriveled women bring you and your sister each a small satchel of bread and a thick, smelly white cheese – enough for a two day's journey.
 
 Tok: We'll thank them very graciously for the food and their friendship…and hit the road!
 
 GM: One of the footmen guides you back to the edge of the woods.  There he parts.  In front of you lie a large field of yellow flowers swaying in the breeze.  Beyond them knee high green grass covers the landscape for miles on end.  Mountains are to your right and far to the left you can see another range of mountains.  Your home lies straight ahead.  Which way do you go?
 
Tok: Let's head straight, presuming that's the shortest path.  We'll keep a wary eye on the swaying grasses for anythign disrupting that sway, like a stealthy predator! Off we go at a hasty pace! 

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