“Know that this position will place upon you a burden of responsibility unlike any other – for hundreds of years the Gray Rangers have been the only thing standing between civilization and outright chaos in the Wildlands. The second you put on that cloak is the second your old life ends and your new life begins. A Gray Rangers accepts personal responsibility for the safety and liberty of the people of the Wildlands, defending those values with his skills, his strength, his wisdom, and if necessary, his life."
~Godfrey Steele, during the party’s commencement.
Chapter One – The Rangers Are Back In Town
August 20th 2013
We began the session with a little preparation work (always sensible in a first session), making sure everyone had dice, bennies, etc. We went over a little recap of the prologue of the campaign (the raid on Shale, how Godfrey had revealed himself as a Gray Ranger, and how the player characters had been recruited). Then it was down to gaming!
Six weeks ago a force of Kalinesh soldiers and Maelstrom mercenaries attacked Shale, appearing as if from nowhere in north-side and attacking the innocent populace. By the time a defence was mounted the attackers had moved up the hill where they struck at the Keep. Again and again the attackers launched assaults at Shale’s brave defenders – focusing their attacks on Gray Rangers where possible. A day and night of battle followed, but it wasn’t until the last Gray Ranger was cut down before the tide of battle turned and the attackers were routed. Many innocents died that day and a great deal of property damage was wrought as well.
As the dust began to settle and survivors were being treated, an old man named Godfrey Steele (who had been staying at The Last Resort) revealed himself as a retired Ranger. He volunteered to help out by communicating with the Gray Ranger HQ in Kythros.
Due to the war effort the Rangers could not spare any men to replace those lost in Shale – but due to the town’s special legal status, Godfrey was temporarily reinstated and given a mandate to deputize a half-dozen or so of Shale’s residents. The old man conducted a number of interviews over the next week, and whether it through a judging of character, or through heroism during the attack, five people were asked to join the Gray Rangers. All accepted.
The party were asked to go down to low-side and remind the criminal element that the Rangers were back in town. Tully gave the street vendors an hour to pack up any illegal merchandise and is approached by two deflated (long term floater using) prostitutes who claim their monger, a man named Reeve, has been treating them badly.
The Rangers raid a filthy tenement building, getting shot at by bodyguards and triggering multiple traps as they attempt to accost the fleshmonger. Tully charges directly after Reeve, Jovander and Ton handle the bodyguards downstairs, and Runt takes out a fleeing bodyguard with an Arcane Bolt before moving to heal him. Tully (empowered with Parlee’s strength boost) and Reeve engage in a brief battle before the fleshmonger runs for the window but Ton erupts from the floor with a powerful leap and grapples Reeve to the ground. A short interrogation later has Reeve’s cache of drugs located and Jovander takes the evidence.
Jovander has tea with his friend, Mr. Jones. They discuss the recent events in low-side and Mr. Jones recommends that the newly-minted Ranger watch his back – their recent concerns may be coming to a head.
A signal from the north-gate alerted the Rangers to a disaster at the mines and they swiftly left town to go and assist. A forty minute ride later our heroes found the Hogsback iron mines in chaos – injured miners everywhere and men still being brought out. A ratzin body had been brought up with the miners; Roke told the Rangers that not only has tunnel four collapsed but tunnel five is partially blocked, with a horde of ratzin attacking the miners trapped inside!
Ton led his companions (and four miners bearing torches) into the mine. Tully and Jovander squeezed into tunnel five while Ton began clearing the blockage so he could fit. Parlee (terrified) stayed back with Runt who began casting powerful Arcane Bolts at the ratzin inside.
By the time Ton had cleared the blockage and entered Jovander was being ravaged by ratzin eager to get a fae flesh. Tully did a heroic job protecting his companions while Ton smashes ratzin with his tree and Runt unleashed his sorcery. As the Rangers progressed deeper into the tunnel, a nearby mechanical bellows exploded sending our heroes crashing to the floor. Their ears ringing, they moved right to the end of the tunnel to try and get the last miners out – only to see a miner setting a mining charge to explode!
The Rangers escaped (barely) in time and made their way to the surface. Their actions had saved the lives of many miners, but for most the night was not yet over. Jovander returned home (for pudding and a sleep) while the others laboured to help the beleagured and wounded miners. Ton helped clear tunnel four, Tully and Parlee triaged the survivors, and Runt helped to collect medicinal herbs.
4th Day of Eternal Sun, 3122.
In the morning Parlee returned to the temple to check in with Lady Winter and then went home to bed. Runt, Ton, and Tully travelled to Kralle’s Gather to look for Jokar, an orc Roke suspected of sabotage. After a brief meeting with Kralle, the Rangers found Jokar dead in his bed, a nearby poison potion suggesting suicide. A cryptic note led them to a nearby orchard where they found a hidden cache of letters that showed how Jokar had been blackmailed into creating a distraction at the mine to allow someone named “B” to do something in Shale without Ranger interference.
Tully is shocked to see that the handwriting in the latters matches that of his brother (thought killed in the recent attack on Shale) Brandon.
While the party were investigating Jokar’s cryptic note, Jovander had been brought to the docks by a guardsman. A large merchant vessel had been found that morning with the crew butchered and three crates missing from the hold – the stink of ratzin filling the air.
I was very impressed by how quickly the players got into the game (in terms of pacing, earning bennies, and keeping the energy high). It certainly helped that Joff and Lee had been gaming with me for the last eight weeks and were ready to go but I was really pleased with Brad, James, and Pete for jumping in with both feet and going for it!
Things To Ponder
What upcoming events are Jovander and Mr. Jones so concerned about?
What exactly happened down at the docks? What was in the crates that were stolen?
Brandon Harding’s alive?! If he truly did write those letters how is he mixed up in all this?