[Runequest] Razor Shells Update

strobus at sympatico.ca strobus at sympatico.ca
Thu Jul 2 23:55:08 EST 2009

Hi Tony,


Certainly, that's very flattering. Will you let fix my typos first? :-)


Please send me a link to your site. If you are interested in the two or three other sessions that surrounded this one, I can send those to you, too.


> Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 08:17:02 +0200
> From: postmaster at runequest.za.org
> To: runequest at rpgreview.net
> Subject: Re: [Runequest] Razor Shells Update
> Hi Chris
> Would you mind me posting this scenario, attributed to you of course, in
> the Guest Articles section of my site. I think its a fantastic example of
> GMing as well as playing in character, and is pretty well written to boot.
> Regards
> Tony
> Chris Gilmore wrote:
> > Hi Tony,
> >
> > I finally used the Razor Shells in game last session. I modified them
> > slightly to fit my plot purposes, taking away the enzymes and giving them
> > a
> > mild poison with a memory loss component (which mechanically results in
> > players losing % from their last skill check gains due to memory lapses -
> > very insidious). I also placed them in a drying lake bed in a location not
> > unlike the Okavango delta.
> >
> > The summary I send to my players concerning the event is here. Hope you
> > enjoy your handiwork:
> >
> > Weekly summary of events from May 14 - part one:
> >
> > Dateline: The City if Assaria, first week of June.
> > Weather: Hot and dry.
> > PCs: Baran and Clovis (two tribelanders from the north), Eshubir and
> > Lugesha
> > (two agents of house Suzur in the southern city of Pavonis).
> > NPCs: Maram, a slave girl of unknown origin (ostensibly from a farm in SW
> > Pavonis) rescued from the Scorpionmen.
> >
> > Having trained for 7 weeks with no result in an effort to build up some
> > muscle tissue (which they hoped would allow them to carry their heavy
> > armour
> > better), Baran and Lugesha decided they needed to give the training
> > another
> > go. Unfortunately the first bout of training depleted their funds, so
> > their
> > trainer introduced them to a friend of his who was willing to hire them
> > for
> > a service. This man was named Gigiris - a chariot maker.
> >
> > Gigiris' business had been very busy lately, with a lot of Akkanians
> > wanting
> > to purchase chariots. In a normal year he would collect all the young wood
> > he needed for the chariot rails in the winter, but this year he ran out
> > early so he sent his young apprentice (Amar) and a labourer (Degdega) to
> > go
> > and cut some more. These were cut from a specific cospe of Dimshilum trees
> > located about a day's travel out in the Savannah to the southeast of the
> > city. Unfortunately, that had been a week ago and neither the boy nor the
> > labourer had come back. Gigiris' business was about to stall, his client
> > was
> > getting anxious, and the apprentice's father was starting to ask
> > questions.
> > So Baran, Eshubir, Lugesha, and Maram agreed to go and look for them. They
> > tried to find Clovis to go with them, but he wasn't around - probably out
> > with his latest girl - so they left on this venture without him.
> >
> > The party made their way south into the savannah by foot. They camped the
> > first night in the long grass and carried on in the morning, following
> > what
> > appeared to be a week-old wagon trail. By noon, the shoulder height grass
> > started to become shorter and then rapidly fell to nothing. They had come
> > to
> > a clearing in the tall grass that was about 300 yards across. The floor of
> > the clearing was caked with mud which was dry and cracking on the surface
> > but still moist down below - it appeared to be an ephemeral lake which was
> > now drying up. Annoying flies of all types buzzed around the place, never
> > settling long enough to swat. Clear tracks of a man on foot, an ox, and a
> > four wheeled cart led straight into the heart of the clearing, and at it's
> > centre could be seen a wagon lying on it's side, and in front of it a dark
> > lump which appeared to be a dead ox.
> >
> > The group started to walk out into the clearing toward the wagon when
> > first
> > Baran and then Lugesha felt a sharp pain in their feet. They had not been
> > wearing armour due to the heat of the season, and whatever had stung them
> > cut right through their skin. On looking down they found that they had
> > been
> > pierced with small barbs attached to leathery tethers that disapeared in
> > the
> > mud. The tethers has the appearance of tough intestines and were about 2
> > yards long when pulled taught. Baran first tried to run back to the edge
> > of
> > the clearing, but was almost tripped up by the tether. So instead he
> > hacked
> > at the tether until it broke, and then ran for the edge with Maram at his
> > side. He was narrowly missed by another barb as they ran, but she was
> > struck
> > and cried out in pain. Baran rapidly cut her tether and the two of them
> > dove
> > for the edge of the clearing where they gingerly removed the barbs and
> > healed themselves with magic.
> >
> > Lugesha had a harder time of it. Armed only with his spear and net and
> > lacking a cutting edge, he decided to try to pull the offending
> > dart-launcher from under the mud while the barb was still stuck in his
> > foot.
> > After several good heaves, though, he couldn't dislodge the culprit
> > (though
> > he could see the mud heaving slightly where it was buried), so he resorted
> > to yanking the barb from his foot instead, causing himself more pain and
> > leaving a large purple wound. He limped to safety at the edge of the
> > clearing. Meanwhile, Eshubir, being light of foot, managed to avoid
> > getting
> > barbed at all and sat on the side shouting advice to the others.
> >
> > Rather than attempt to cross the mud again, the group circled the clearing
> > to the west. After travelling around about a third of they way, they
> > discovered a flattened spot in the grass - a place showing signs of recent
> > activity by many people. Examining the ground here, they also noticed a
> > series of small, round holes leading out towards the fallen wagon. These
> > holes were about 2-3" in diameter and 6-12" deep. The party followed the
> > flattened grass as it lead away from the clearing to the west came to a
> > north-south running game trail. They followed the game trail north for
> > ways,
> > then south and found that it led to a copse of trees that had been
> > pollarded
> > for the harvest of many supple young stems. This was apparently the place
> > Gigiris got his wood. Upon seeing this, Baran had an idea and cut two long
> > straight stems with his axe. He then drove one knife into the side of each
> > of them at about waist height, tying the knives in place. He held the
> > posts
> > upright and stood on the horizontal knife handles and found that they just
> > might hold his weight and, with some agility, he could walk on these
> > artificial legs, which he called 'stilts' after his uncle Stiltibris back
> > in
> > the tribelands who had long legs.
> >
> > They returned to dried up pond and Baran coaxed Esh (who was the most
> > agile
> > of the group) up onto the makeshift stilts. Esh practiced a bit on the
> > makeshift legs and then walked carefully out into the mud where he could
> > hear the occasional popping of a dart beneath him. He made it to the
> > fallen
> > wagon without incident and upon investigation found it to be empty. The
> > black ox, though, was clearly dead and was laying on it's side still
> > harnessed to the wagon. A thick cloud of flies hovered over ox, buzzing
> > angrily when Esh came near. From this vantage point on the 'stilts',
> > Eshubir
> > could see a single set of human footprints heading from the wagon to the
> > opposite (east) side of the clearing. Judging by the tracks, whoever had
> > made them must have fallen about halfway across, then got up and continued
> > but this time dragging something behind them. Esh shouted his discovery to
> > the others and, wiping the sweat of the afternoon sun from his brow, set
> > off
> > on the stilts again to the east. The others ran around the south end of
> > the
> > clearing and joined up with him. Lying in the long grass a few yards from
> > the edge was a human body - probably that of the labourer, Degdega.
> >
> > The body had been dead a few days, too. One of the sharp barbs was stuck
> > into the inside of the upper thigh and this connected to a two yard long
> > tether. Attached to the other end of the tether was an oblong object caked
> > in dried mud. It was about 3' long and 8" wide and 2" thick and seemed to
> > be
> > made of two hard shells held tightly together with a round protuberance at
> > one end from which the tether extended. Baran pried this thing open and
> > found it to be fleshy inside - like the inside of a clam from the lake
> > near
> > his home.
> >
> > He cleaned out the insides and fashioned a makeshift pair of ski-like
> > shoes,
> > tying them to his feet with rope. He was about to set off again toward the
> > wagon when Lugesha spoke up.
> > "Hey - wait a minute. Didn't you see that those tethers are about 6 feet
> > long? Those shell shoes of yours aren't going to protect your groin. Look
> > at
> > this poor sap pierced in the upper thigh!" he said, pointing to Degdega's
> > body.
> > "You're right." said Baran, and so took off the shoes and donned his
> > ringmail pants, then put the shell shoes back on, and marched out to the
> > wagon.
> >
> > On the way, he could hear the pops of more darts, but nothing penetrated
> > his
> > skin. He reached the wagon just in time because the ropes holding his
> > shoes
> > on fell apart. He jumped into the wagon and tied them up again. Then he
> > hopped back to the ground and untied the ox harness and, with a great
> > heave,
> > righted the wagon. He then took hold of the harness and, walking
> > backwards,
> > slowly dragged the wagon about 10 feet closer to the edge of the pond,
> > whereupon he hitched a rope to it and, with the help of those on the edge
> > of
> > the clearing pulling on the rope, pulled it the rest of the way. In the
> > last
> > few yards he heard a 'POP' sound and a dart nailed him in the groin, just
> > piercing his ringmail pants through the seam. With a yell he cut the
> > tether
> > and leaped for the edge of the grass where he once again lay down and
> > healed
> > himself.
> >
> > The group spent the rest of the afternoon hauling the wagon to the copse
> > of
> > trees and set up camp there for the night. The next day they awoke to find
> > that a fever had ravaged all those who were stuck. They hade been weakened
> > by a poison coupled with a loss of memory which seemed to impact Lugesha
> > the
> > most. They spent that day recovering from the poison and taking turns
> > cutting stems with Baran's axe, piling them into the wagon. On the third
> > day, they set off north again, this time following the game trail they had
> > previously discovered. It was a tough slog, but taking turns they managed
> > to
> > do it. They camped one more night in the open, and on the last day they
> > came
> > across a party of Zalamaran nomads coming south, their long spears seen
> > dancing high above the top of the grass long before they themselves were
> > seen.
> >
> > Eshubir seemed to be able to communicate best with them, despite not
> > speaking their language. First he tricked them into selling a number of
> > exotic striped animal hides for a pittance, and then he seemed to get
> > across
> > to them that they were looking for a boy - one who might be injured. At
> > this, the Zalamarans gestured that they had seen just such a boy and
> > rescused him (making stilt-like walking motions) and brought him to some
> > farmers at the south of Assarian territory. With that, the two parties
> > left,
> > the Zalamarans continuing south and our adventurers heading north.
> >
> > Soon the adventurers arrived at a small farm on the edge of the settled
> > lands of Assaria. Sure enough, they found the boy in the care of the
> > farmers
> > and so they took him back to Gigiris. The boy, it seemed, had been so
> > impacted by the poison of the razor shells that he had forgotten who he
> > was
> > and where he belonged. Gigiris was happy to have his wagon load of wood
> > (and
> > paid the adventurers fairly for it) but not too glad to hear about the
> > death
> > of Degdega and to now have an apprentice who couldn't remember what he had
> > learned. "At least," said Baran "he also doesn't remember his bad habits."
> > Gigiris only sighed and paid them their money. Our party then then
> > departed
> > to get a good night's rest in a reasonable bed and look for Baran's
> > brother
> > Clovis, whom they had not seen now in four days.
> >
> > End of part one.
> >
> >
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