The last day of Ramadhan, Irfan taught cousin Aiman to play RPG, specifically BareBones Fantasy (BBF). With the Eid Tabletop RPG Travel Pack I brought, I gamemastered an impromptu session for the cousins in the morning. Irfan tweaked his old player character (PC) Jake Hastur to be the Halfling wizard Drego Andre. Aiman adapted a pre-generated character from the BBF rule book to be an Elven wizard who called himself Johnson Jones.
Session 01: The Cave in the Clave
The two free Wizards Drego and Johnson were travelling the thick woods on foot in the Emondran Clave of the Keranak Kingdoms. (Presumably Johnson is an Emon Elf.)
It was getting dark but there was no place for them to hole up and camp. There were large trees and thick brush everywhere. They came across a river which flowed dangerously fast. If you fell in the water, you would be swept away in its swirling current. On the far bank was the perfect camp-site: a sandy riverbank overgrown with delicious edible mushrooms.
Drego volunteered to look for a bridge but (because of his failed Scout skill roll) he was unable to find any way to cross it.
Johnson, who was able to cast a telekinesis spell, silently levitated Drego and floated him over the river toward the far bank. Then, Johnson managed with some difficulty to levitate himself to join Drego on the other side.
Drego said, “Well, I guess we should have done that in the first place.”
The Company of Wolves
Night fell. The stars were out and Drego, a very good cook, had picked some mushroom in order to make dinner. Johnson was more than satisfied with the food as he loved having dinner with friends. Then they heard the grown of an animal. They both leapt to their feet. Drego cast a minor fireball (Offensive Strike) spell to light the forest which abruptly halted the growling. Johnson warned him that he spotted four wolves in the bushes about to attack them.
The wolves show themselves and prepared to pounce on the Wizards. Johnson’s crossbow bolt struck one of the two wolves eyeing him (removing only 3 Body Points from 15). The other two wolves leapt at Drego. One of them succeeded in biting the Halfling’s arm (removing 8 BP from his 20). The bleeding Drego cast a blast of magical fire than swept through both wolves. Both canines were seared by the flames but were still trying to attack (the Offensive Strike spell dealt a 12 point damage).
One of the wolves jumped at Johnson and missed. It fell onto the sand by the river and prepared to attack again, but Johnson used his magic to push the wolf into the river. There was a splash, a yelp and it disappeared into the darkness. Meanwhile, the other wolves – the ones injured by fire – had failed to bite Drego again allowing Drego to cast another burst of flames that killed only one. (The survivor only had 1 BP left and was on fire.)
Johnson pushed the second wolf attacking him into the water using his mind, then helped Drego by doing the same. They thought they heard the final wolf yelp in relief (because the water doused its flames) then immediately yelp in distress (because of the raging river).
Then they were alone again.
The Leavings of the Dead
They slept until morning and moved on. Soon they were at a foothill. There was a cave opening with a corpse laid across it. It was a human body, a male who had a sword and a knapsack. Johnson took the sword and its sheathe. Its pommel was carved with the head of an eagle. Drego discovered a cloak made of fine gray silk with exquisite embroidery along its edges.
Being an Emon Elf, Johnson recognised the items. He said, “You have a Cloak of Invisibility there. I wield in my hands an Eagle Blade, a thousand-year-old magical sword that certain Elven spellcasters can throw at targets and pull back to their hands. This sword is at least a thousand years old.”
Also in the knapsack is parchment. On the parchment, is drawn a rudimentary, simple map of a cave. X marked the spot where it was written, IT’S IN THE CAVE.
Drego eagerly gestured to the cave, “Let’s go exploring.”
Wizards and the Worg
As they delved deeper into the tunnel, light became scarcer until it was total darkness. Johnson led Drego as the Elf was able to see in the dark. Then Drego cast a fireball that lit up the cavern. At the far end of the cavern was a dark-furred wolf the size of a horse! An evil worg!
The worg growled and rushed for them, eyes ablaze and jaws slavering. Halfway across the cavern, Drego’s second fireball missed the worg although the spinning Eagle Blade flew from Johnson’s hand, struck the creature and returned to the Elf. The worg was almost upon them when a second hit by the flying sword and another fireball spell turned the worg into a burning pile of bones.
The Unseen Trap
Suddenly they heard a voice from deeper in the tunnel muttered, “They killed the worg! Run!”
Drego and Johnson ran after the mysterious voice. Who were they? Soon they were back in complete darkness. Even with his darkvision, Johnson saw no one. He also failed to spot a mechanical trigger in the floor. He stepped on it and saw a swinging stone block coming at them from the ceiling. He yelled “TRAP!”
Drego rolled out of its way in time, but the rock smashed into Johnson, heavily injuring him. His face and chest was bruised and he might have broken ribs.
The Boat in the Cave
Further down the winding tunnel, they came to a great cavern which housed a lake of water large and deep enough to hold a sailboat. Shafts of sunlight streamed into the cavern through small holes in the rocks overhead. The lake appeared to lead out into an underground river through a shadowy tunnel. Near its boarding gangplank the wizards spotted three Orcs wielding jagged swords.
Drego said, “Let’s wear the Cloak of Invisibility and try to steal that boat.” Johnson agreed in his normal silent manner, putting on the cloak while the small Halfling stayed close to him under it.
They crept towards the Orcs. Then Drego had an idea. He whispered, “Use your magic to make some noise down the tunnel where we came from. Maybe they’ll go investigate and we can take the boat without any opposition.” Johnson concentrated and cast his spell.
But he was unable to direct the spell as he was in pain, injured by the swinging stone trap. The magical energies went awry and struck the rocks in the cave above them. Rock and gravel avalanched onto them, forming an outline of dust and soil over their invisible cloak.
The Orcs spotted their vague ghostly shape. Quickly, Johnson began waving his arms up and down while Drego wailed a ghostly wail and Drego said to the Orcs “I’m a ghost and will eat you all!” (Irfan succeed his Thief skill roll to deceive the Orc).
The Orcs whimpered and ran… (I ruled: Roll a 1D, 1-4 the Orcs run into the boat, 5-10 the Orcs flee out of the cave. I rolled a 4.)
…into the sailboat cabin and locked the door behind them.
“Argh!” Drego said to himself, “Why are the Orcs inside the boat. we want them outside the boat.”
Drego tried again, “Fleeeee this cave and leeeave the boat!”
“Wait a minute,” said the lead Orc. “What does a ghost need a boat for?” Then the trio rushed out of their vessel, swords drawn, clamouring for battle. It was quite a shock for them when a shining Elven sword spun out of nowhere, struck and killed an Orc and returned back to the outstretched hand of an Elf, who appeared out of nowhere.
One of the Orcs fled back into the boat while the other rushed for the newly-appeared Halfling. Drego cast his fireball spell which then leapt out toward the Orc, seared it to a crisp and enveloped the entire boat behind it. The boat was now in flames and sinking. A lone Orc could be seen trying to drag a treasure chest across its deck as it disappeared into the black waters beneath.
Circumstancial Evidence is their Jam
Drego and Johnson were disappointed that they could not commandeer the boat.
So they headed back out of the cave.
They were almost at the cave entrance when they were confronted by three armed and visibly angry humans. “Look!” said the tallest human obviously the leader of the group. “They have the Cloak of Invisibility and the Eagle Sword! They killed Ziros!”
The trio drew their longswords, pointed them at Drego and Johnson and advanced for an attack.
(At this point we concluded one session, but two days later on the second day of Eid we attempted a second session. I gave them both 6 Development Points which they used to increase their Wizard skills from Rank 1 to Rank 2. Also, this time Zara decided to join us, making her at 6 years old, the youngest person I have ever gamemastered. What was her player character? Read on.)
Session 02: The Brotherhood of the Exposition
Drego tried to tell them that they had nothing to do with Ziros’ death, but he was merely a little Halfling against the fury of three full-grown humans. Then Johnson spoke out with his rumbling but calming voice, an Elf’s voice, saying, “We did not kill your friend. We found him dead earlier today, but we did take his belongings.” (Aiman succeeded a Leader skill roll.)
The humans halted their attack and lowered their swords. As they told what had occured here, the trio sheathed their weapons into their scabbards, convinced that they were told the truth by the Elf and the Halfling.
They introduced themselves. The tall leader was Tauros, the bald one was called Kuros and the fat one was named Pharos. Tauros said, “We are the Brotherhood of the Storm. We have been hunting a great Evil that has entered the Emondran Clave. We think this Evil might have started to settle and take root in the Emondran wilderness here. You appear to be good in a fight, as your stories told. Will you join us in our quest to search and destroy this Evil?”
Johnson spoke for them both, “Yes. We will be honoured to join you.”
As they left, something moved in the trees ahead of them. They drew their swords. Drego prepared to unleash a fireball.
It was a large black cat. The panther calmly walked over to Johnson and rubbed her furry head on his hands. Rory gave her a piece of dried meat from his pack, and soon the panther was following Johnson around. Drego said, “Great that you have a pet now.”
“I shall name her Rory! Rory the panther!” (This was Zara’s player character! I gave her something simple to play, with stats for attack and sense. She was quite good at it during the time we played.)
After burying Ziros near the cave, Johnson, Drego, Rory, Tauros, Pharos and Kuros headed deeper into the jungle in hopes of discovering more signs of this Evil.
After travelling through the thick underbrush, night quickly enveloped the adventurers (and one panther). Drego made a delicious dinner for the group, one that impressed the Brotherhood of the Storm, especially Pharos. (Even Zara was roleplaying Rory enjoying her meal of dried meat.)
They also told Johnson and Drego that the map they had found was not the map of the cave they had found the Orcs in, but another cave. Most likely, the cave where the Evil had made its home somewhere in the Clave.
Then they went to sleep. Drego volunteered to keep watch. But he was too tired after the day’s walk and the fight preceding it. He fell asleep.
When Drego awoke the next morning, he saw Pharos laid out between their two tents. He was dead, stabbed in the chest and no sign of the murder weapon.
The Evil was already among them!
Then the second session had to end prematurely that morning on account of the players’ mothers telling them to take a bath before the Hari Raya visitors came to visit. “MANDI CEPAT! NANTI ORANG DATANG NAK RAYA!” Will the tale of Johnson and Drego continue? No idea. Maybe. Stay tuned.