Ulthor has made a new vow to Aid Atani. Though it’s a detour from Avenging Maura’s Death and Proving His Innocence, he’s hoping this quest will help him to forge new Bonds with the elves, gain their favor, and ultimately their assistance in fulfilling those vows from “the outside-in”.
Scene 4: The Journey South
- Edge: 2, Heart: 3, Iron: 1, Shadow: 1, Wits: 2
- Momentum: +5, Health: +5, Spirit: +4, Supply: +1
- Assets: Blade-bound, Wayfinder, Long-Arm
- Bonds: Maura, Highcairn, and the small Black Iron blade passed down to him through his lineage
- Vows: Avenge Maura’s Death (Extreme), Prove My Innocence (Formidable), Aid Atani (Dangerous)
It’s time to Take a Journey, but is Ulthor’s elven friend Kerihu coming along for the ride? I Ask the Oracle with 50/50 odds (>50): 7 → Most definitely not. Kerihu has his own duties to fulfill.
Ulthor sets out alone, heading south along the edge of the ravine with what little supply Atani and Kerihu could spare. He’s certain he won’t make it far without gathering from what the forest can provide.
- +wits: 5 + 2 = 7 vs. 7, 4 → Weak hit
I take +2 Supply (now +3) and suffer -2 Momentum (now +3), figuring I’m going to need the Supply more at this point.
Undertake a Journey:
- +wits: 1 + 2 = 3 vs. 10, 7 → Miss! Waylaid by a perilous event.
Pay the Price:
- 88 → It wastes resources.
Again, I’m wasting resources. I roll on the Oracle tables to give it more flavor and figure out what this “perilous event” might be…
Oracles 1 & 2 (Action & Theme):
- Action: 26 → Withdraw
- Theme: 4→ Ally
I imagine Kerihu is my only real ally so far, so the perilous event must involve him.
Ask the Oracle:
- 50/50 Beast or Horror: 51 → Beast
I thumb through the Beast listings in the “Foes and Encounters” chapter of the book. Elder Beasts and Wyverns both seem to fit more than the others. I settle on Wyvern, not wanting to cross paths with the ancients of this land.
Not half a day’s journey out of Atani’s hut, Ulthor comes upon a dreadful scene. Kerihu is beset by a fearsome-looking Verdant Wyvern. He’s on the ground, unmoving, while the Wyvern seems to be distracted by something else. Ulthor has to act — Kerihu probably wouldn’t be in this spot if not for him. He chokes down the fear and angst welling up inside him and instead surveys the area, searching for something — anything — that might give him an advantage against the likes of a Wyvern!
Again I use the Oracles, this time for Location and Location Descriptor: (32) Tree (41) Savage. I imagine this to mean the area is a particularly “wild” section of the forest.
The trees in this stretch of wood are massive and ancient. There’s much level ground between the towering giants and between Ulthor and the Wyvern, but it’s densely covered in smaller undergrowth, perfect for providing some cover. As he moves closer, he can see the Wyvern is distracted with devouring Kerihu’s gaunt mount, tearing the beast to shreds. Ulthor continues about, attempting to Secure an Advantage by surprising the Wyvern from behind.
Secure an Advantage:
- +wits: 5 + 2 = 7 vs. 6, 4 → Strong hit!
I chose to Take Control for +1 on my next move:
Enter the Fray:
- +shadow: 5 + 1 + 1 = 7 vs. 1, 8 → Weak hit
This still affords me initiative, so next, Ulthor will attack:
- +iron: 3 + 1 = 4 vs. 5, 9 → Miss! Pay the Price…
I imagine Ulthor’s feeble attempt at injuring such a well-armored beast, and decide he’s broken his staff (I don’t think I mentioned his inventory, but his Long Arm attribute affords him a staff and +2 harm instead of the usual +1 for such simple weapons.
The wyvern now has initiative…
Despite his stealthy approach and the surprise attack on the beast, Ulthor accomplishes little more than splintering his trusty walking staff against its thick, scaly hide. He obtained the wyvern’s attention, now, however. It turns away from the carrion corpse of the gaunt to see who has interrupted its meal.
Ulthor quickly produces his Black Iron long-knife in an attempt to ward of the beast, but the wyvern is unafraid and strikes out. The two Clash…
- +iron: 5 + 1 = 6 vs. 3, 7 → Weak hit
A weak hit means Ulthor deals +2 harm to the Wyvern — since it is a an Extreme foe, this means only 2 ticks of Progress (yikes!). In return, Ulthor is also injured, and is dealt +4 harm — a grievous injury! He must Endure Harm and lose -4 health (now only +1) and roll +iron: 6 + 1 = 7 vs. 6, 7 → a weak hit means he presses on. The Wyvern retains initiative.
His blade is no match for the Wyvern’s razor sharp teeth. The beast takes a small gash across its nose, but Ulthor suffers a serious bite. He gasps in pain, but he can’t give up yet — his friend Kerihu needs him. Worse yet, his spirit would never rest with Iron Vows left unfulfilled.
He rolls to his feet, blood droplets spooling off of him, and readies himself as the Wyvern’s thunderous tail lashes out. He’s no choice but to Face Danger and pray to his ancestors he will survive this encounter…
- +heart: 6 + 3 = 9 vs. 2, 4 → A Strong hit!
Ulthor takes +1 Momentum (now +4) and regains initiative.
His forefathers smile upon him and he dives easily aside as the Wyvern’s tail hits wide, striking a rotten log and sending debris flying. Ulthor’s move landed him by his waylaid friend. He risks a quick glance to check the elf’s status. [Is he still alive? 50/50: 4 → No!] He rolls Kerihu over, but his torso is sundered, his life force flowing out into the detritus of the forest floor.
Incensed at the gruesome state of his old friend, Ulthor spots the elf’s longbow and quickly takes it up. He takes careful aim as the Wyvern wheels about…
Secure an Advantage:
- +edge: 5 + 2 = 7 vs. 10, 6 → Weak hit
Ulthor takes +1 Momentum (now +5) and Strikes.
- +edge: 1 + 2 = 3 vs. 10, 9 → Miss! Pay the Price…
Ulthor again has to Endure Harm, reducing his Health to zero, and spilling over into his Momentum, reducing it by 2 as well (now +2).
Ulthor is quite dexterous, but he’s not handled a weapon such as this since childhood. The draw weight of the bowstring is more than his quivering arms can manage as he looses the arrow. The bow string breaks and the projectile goes careening off into the forest.
The Wyvern watches the arrow sail harmlessly past and then unleashes a furious roar! In a flash, its razor sharp teeth are again snapping in Ulthor’s direction. Again, he manages to ready his blade for what small defense he can display. They Clash once more, but it’s little use… Ulthor takes on another devastating bite. This time, the beast will not let go.
Clenched in the Wyvern’s jaws, survival consumes Ulthor’s mind. He flails about wildly, trying to free himself, beating his fist and his blade against the armored scales with little impact. With all the force and precision he can muster, he sounds a fierce cry and stabs at the Wyvern’s face, a desperate attempt to Turn the Tide…
Turn the Tide:
Ulthor steals initiative and Strikes with +1:
- +iron: 5 + 1 + 1 = 7 vs. 9, 10 → Miss! Pay the Price…
For a third time, Ulthor Endures Harm and instead of taking -4 Health (he’s already at zero), the result is applied entirely to his Momentum (now -2) and rolls
- +iron: 6 + 1 = 7 vs. 3, 8 → Weak hit
Refusing to die in spite of the odds (and defying all logic 🙂 ) … He Clashes again and makes a Strong hit: -3 harm, or 3 ticks on the Wyvern’s progress track — now with 1 progress and 2 ticks.
A last ditch effort to Secure an Advantage (+wits): 3 + 2 = 5 vs. 9, 6 → Miss! Pay the Price… (33) → The situation worsens (as if it even could!)
Ulthor’s blade eventually finds purchase in the Wyvern’s unprotected eye. He falls to the ground as the enraged lizard thrashes about just above him. Desperately, he looks for a place to stab at the beast’s softer underbelly, but in its blind and pained thrashing, the Wyvern tramples Ulthor, crushing his bones with a series of sickening cracks! [Face Death (+heart): 1 + 3 = 4 vs. 8, 9 → Miss!] A bright ringing sound fills his ears as darkness washes over his vision. He chokes on his own blood, but a final whisper escapes his lips as he utters his last breath:
Ulthor of Highcairn is no more.
A game of Perilous Quests, indeed.