Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report Episode 12 – Blood Ties

3 November, 2019

This takes place directly after Episode 11.

Our cast for this episode (for more information on the game background, see here):

Reed Greenbottle, Mercutio, Skathfka with Agrippa off-stage as his player was not available

Episode 12: Blood Ties

Like this but with more DragonbornThis episodes opens with the characters accompanying the Patriarch Ogrash Baitam,down the stairs to the great hall for a massive feast.  Before the feast, the Patriarch gave a speech welcoming all and announcing that the Thing to choose a successor would begin on the morrow.

Skathfka sits with his mother’s clique, and Mercutio chafes at being treated as a servant and inferior and having to stand while Reed just endures.  Skatfka is gifted a suit of blue enameled half-plate by the Patriarch in front of everyone causing much discussion.  The meal is primarily meats of various sorts and the Black Vanguard stage a dramatic and slightly operatic performance of their victory over the Huntven Nomads on the far western border.  Stories, songs and much drinking follows.

The characters observe the following things: The servants/slaves outnumber the Dragonborn by a ratio of at least two to one in the citadel and that most important Dragonborn have slave bodyguards that are non-Dragonborn (usually human).  Reed and Mercutio slip away to talk to Rallia, who they find in the kennel with her hounds, and try and sound out the servant/slave opinion of their Dragonborn masters, which brought them no joy as the citadel staff are resigned to if not accepting of their lot.  Songs, stories and drink wind down the dinner.  Rejoining Skafthka, they all escort the Patriarch back up to his room.

Skafthka talks to the Patriarch and find that he may not be as bad as feared, he just seems old and tired of bloodshed.  Reed and Mercutio chat with Yvrial, Starseer and Diviner, and find that he is very good as his job.  Reed notices a silver basket of raven eggs and surreptitiously pokes holes in those he can reach.  They then retire to plan for the next day.

Arriving at the Thing, it open with a young girl carrying a lamb being let to the center of the room.  The Patriarch flips a coin, Skathfka wins the flip and the lamb is sacrificed for haruspicy (divination by examination of the liver) which says that blood will be spilled before questions are answered.  The factions are clearly defined about a quarter for each Shavrika, Skafka’s mother and clan high priestess, and Othral, Captain of the Black Vanguard.  Speeches begin and after a few, Skafthka steps forward and challenges V’kavtha, his brother but supporter of Orthral, in a tense and vicious duel, Skafthka only just emerges triumphant! Reed interrupts an assassin with a hidden crossbow, preventing him from acting during the duel though they did not learn his target.

V’kavtha is dragged out for healing and Mercurtio uses his magic to disguise himself as the badly wounded V’kavtha and drags himself back in and proclaims a change of heart, throwing his support to Shavrika.  In return, he gets a spear in the shoulder from Othral (but manages to keep his magical disguise going).  This soon surges into a brief battle between the two factions leaving fifteen dead or badly wounded.

As the two sides pull apart, Yvrial strikes, driving a dagger into the Patriarch’s chest and proclaiming himself the new Patriarch by rite of assassination.  As his words echo through the great hall, the raven who had gathered in the rafters drops to the floor transforming into tall warrior-women, a dozen or so of the Ba’aikire, armed for war and obviously allied with Yvrial.  With that, the session ended.

Notes: Back to Dragonborn madness after a short break.  Take a look at the Dragonborn in the Sea of Stars post to get a little more context.

Image taken from page 255 of ‘Penshurst Castle in the time of Sir Philip Sidney. [A story.]’ from the British Library and is in the Public Domain.

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