"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Sunday, March 31, 2019


Note: The River of Cradles picks up where Six Seasons in Sartar left off.  If you haven't checked out that campaign, go back and start here.


When a wandering Chaos obscenity killed those under her protection, Vinga’s fury and despair knew no bounds. Gustbran took the goddess’ wrath and forged it into a blade called Vengeance. The Loyal Daughter took the sword and tracked the raider’s bloody trail over nine raw mountains and eight terrible valleys. Finding the killer and its kin in their lair, she enacted a vengeance so terrible and complete that even the monster’s name is lost to our knowing.
Greg Stafford, The Book of Heortling Mythology  

The River of Cradles is the second book and sequel to Six Seasons in Sartar.  Cradles picks up where Seasons left off; the young protagonists have been separated from or lost their families and clan.  Their home has been taken, their wyter destroyed.  Yet Cradles is by necessity a very different sort of campaign.  Seasons was a heavily-scripted tragedy with a pre-determined ending, meant to introduce a new group of players both to the world of Glorantha and the HQG system.  The characters spent most of the book not yet adults. HeroQuest Glorantha’s “as-you-go” character creation was drawn out over all six chapters.  Until their initiation in chapter five, the characters were not even able to wield magic, and not until chapter six did they emerge as finished and complete HQG characters.  In Cradles, they enter play complete.  They are full adults with their destinies in their hands.  This demands a less scripted play style, a more traditional RPG approach in which the player characters are allowed to find their own way.

Having said this, Cradles still has a story to tell.  With the women and children of their clan sold into slavery in the wastelands of Prax, the player characters are resolved to travel that land, find them, and liberate them.  The trail will take them from Pimper’s Block across the region to the Lunar grantlands along the Zola Fel river.  From Defender’s Shore they move northwards upriver, through Lokazzi, Eyes Rise, Weis Domain, and Red Cliff.  Finally they pass through Sun Dome County and finally into Pavis, where Luck or Fate tosses them into a new take on a classic RuneQuest adventure.  The story then ends with another disaster; back in Dragon Pass the Windstop is unleashed.

Along the way there are difficult choices to be made.  Will the player characters simply rescue their family and clansmen from bondage, or will they try to liberate any Sartarite they find?  Do they also free Praxian slaves?  Nonhumans?  Is their intention to free every slave they find?  And do they limit themselves to liberation, or is vengeance upon the Lunars part of the mission?  These decisions will swing Cradles between a story of covert liberation—creating and running a sort of underground railroad—to a full-on Spartacus level slave revolt.  The choice is theirs.

If the theme of Seasons was “Coming of Age,” the theme of Cradles is “Coping with Loss.”  The young player characters have all been through a horrific experience, and the focus of Cradles is how they deal with it.  Do they turn to faith, or succumb to the temporary bliss offered by hazia and kvass?  Do they embrace a purpose or cause, or exorcise their demons with bloody revenge?  These are all questions central to the campaign.

A secondary theme is finding a Tradition or Cult.  Now that they are adults and their Runes awakened, which form of magic do they embrace?  Which god calls to them?  Because of this sub theme, Cradles is far more mystical than its predecessor, with more signs and omens, more incidents of the gods making their presence felt.  

Welcome then to The River of Cradles.  The year is 1620 ST.  The place is Prax.  As the story unfolds, the young protagonists find out what sort of people they will be, and on the very eve of the Hero Wars, see hints and glimmers of the roles they will play in the coming storm…

The Key Question:
Now that you are adults, what kind of person will you be?

Chapter One

Setting: Sartar, starting Waterday/Stasis Week/Fire Season 1620.  The action moves back and forth between a Lunar prison in Boldhome and a Lunar encampment south of Wilmskirk.   

Theme:  Faith and the Gods.  What role do the gods play in the lives of men?  

Motif:  Descent into the Underworld.  In Boldhome, Kalf and Beralor are being kept in dark oubliettes, tortured and interrogated.  These experiences change them.  South of Wilmskirk, Leika and Kalliva take part in a daring ambush, using underground tunnels to change their fates and those of hapless Lunar captives.  None of the characters actually descend into Hell in this story, but these subterranean experiences change their lives.  

Synopsis: In Boldhome, the actions of a god and a spirit make it possible for Kalf and Beralor to attempt an escape from captivity.  South of Wilmskirk, Leika and Kalliva experience the power of two goddesses, Vinga and Ernalda.  A stark choice is put before them concerning what sort of people they wish to be; do they take up Vinga’s sword (Vengeance) or follow Ernalda’s message of “there is always another way?”

Dramatis Personae

Ashagara Bonewitch
  • Runes: Moon, Darkness, Spirit
  • Seven Mothers Jakaleel Devotee (“…the Mistress of Black Magic, Keeper of Secrets…(h)er sub cult explores the horrors and solaces contained in the secrets of the Dying Moon, and has some close associations with the Blue Moon”)
  • Goals: To break Kalf and Beralor and find out everything they know about Kallyr Starbrow’s quest, what happened in the Dragon Temple, and the possible whereabouts of their co-conspirators (Kalliva and Leika).  
  • Notes: Ashagara never acts without consulting the Runes.  She keeps a set on her person at all times in a black pouch at her belt.  These are carved on the bones of her female ancestors.  No one knows what she looks like.  She is always covered from head to toe in black (robes, tattered cloak, deep hood), her face, hands, arms, etc are wrapped in black linen bandages.  She wears lead claws on her fingers (these are like thimbles with long razor-sharp nails).  

  • Runes: Air, Motion, Spirit
  • An “allied spirit” sent from Orlanth to serve the (now deceased) Wind Lord Derangath Cliffjumper.  Bound into Derangath’s alynx companion, Nightclaw, Skydancer is unable to return to Orlanth as the Lunar’s are keeping the shadowcat captive.  Skydancer can leave the animal but cannot stray too far.
  • Goals: Now that its master is dead, Skydancer wishes to return to Orlanth.  To do that, Nightclaw needs to be rescued from the Lunars (they are keeping the animal alive precisely because they want to hold Skydancer…part of a larger program of capturing and binding Orlanthi spirits to weaken the god).
Korolmara Svannsdotr
  • Runes: Air, Motion, Mastery
  • Vinga Devotee, Kalliva’s birthmother, captain of the Red Braid Sisters
  • Goals: To serve Queen Kallyr and see her on the throne of Sartar, to serve Vinga by avenging all the suffering the Lunars have inflicted on her people, to keep Kalliva alive.
  • Notes: A powerful warrior and capable leader, she strives to embody Vinga in this world.  She loves her daughter, but knows the role of “mother” is not one she is destined to play.

Gangrath Rogvarthsson
  • Runes: Fire, Truth, Air
  • Elmal Initiate, youngest son of King Rogvarth of the Sambari
  • Goals: Oppose his father’s policy of Lunar appeasement, see Sartar liberated from all Lunar influence; has taken an interest in Kalliva, so getting her to like him and share his feelings is a recent goal.
  • Notes: Gangrath is idealistic…perhaps even too much so.  He believes in honor and honesty, in “doing the right thing.”

Stora Helgarsdotr
  • Runes: Air, Motion, Earth
  • Korolmara’s lieutenant in the Red Braid Sisters.  
  • Goals: To kill every Lunar she finds, to make sure what happens to her family never happens to another Heortling
  • Notes: She was a wife and mother during Starbrow’s rebellion.  Lunar soldiers killed her husband and children and raped her.  She dyed her hair red shortly after that.

Ernaldesta the Vigorous
  • Runes: Earth, Life, Harmony
  • A member of Kallyr’s Companions (she is the Healer), a powerful devotee of Ernalda, possibly Kallyr’s lover
  • Goals: To serve Kallyr.  To heal the wounds the Lunar Occupation has inflicted on her people.  To serve as mother and guide.  
  • Notes: When the Starbrow heard of the terrible fate that befell the Haraborn she knew that she, in part, was to blame.  She refuses to let any more Haraborn suffer and has sent Ernaldesta to aid the Sons of Orlanth in making sure the male captives on their way to feed the Bat never get there.    

Elmalandti Wildstorm
  • Runes: Air, Movement, Spirit
  • Another member of Kallyr’s Companions (he is the Waterman), a powerful Kolati shaman formerly of the Old Wind Temple.
  • Goals: To serve Kallyr.  To liberate Sartar.  He has a secondary goal here, an interest in Leika (he calls her “Leika Whitecloud”) whom he thinks would make a fine Kolati shaman.

Begin With:  IN LUNAR OCCUPIED BOLDHOME, both Kalf and Beralor are the prisoners and the playthings of the Jakaleel witch Ashagara.  Solitarily confined in lightless holes in the ground, the witch works to break them, seeking information about their involvement in Kallyr Starbrow’s quest and the whereabouts of their “co-conspirators.”  Following the instructions given her after casting the Runes, she has taken two very different approaches to breaking them;

Kalf has been sick with fever.  A disease spirit has taken hold of him and will not let go (the Bonewitch conjured it and bound it to the bowl the Lunars use to feed Kalf his gruel).  He alternates between hot flashes and sweats and terrible chills.  Sometimes in the shadows of his fever Esrala comes to him.  She cradles his head on her lap and wipes his brow.  Sometimes she sings him to sleep.  Lately she keeps urging him to return to her, to “do whatever is necessary” to come back.  “Live for me.”  Most recently, she has been urging him to confess and “tell the witch everything” so they will release him.  It is likely Kalf’s player will immediately recognize “Esrala” is the witch herself, working on his mind (David is a bright lad).  Regardless, give the character a chance to resist using his strongest Rune (the equivalent of an RQ contest of POW) in a simple contest.  Apply the results to subsequent rolls to resist the Bonewitch.

For Beralor, Ashagara has ordered regular beatings; sometime the guards use their fists, sometimes the lash.  They ask nothing.  They come at irregular hours but most often when he is sleeping.  The beatings are intended to soften him up, but are having a different effect. Sometimes after the beatings, in the darkness of his cell, Beralor feels the wind on his face.  Sometimes he smells ozone.  Once after the beatings were particularly bad, he lay dazed on his back and watched thunderclouds boil and seethe across the ceiling of the room. After one terrible lashing last week, he actually had a vision back in his cell and watched the boy Orlanth, blue as the sky, dance his wardance.  Though he did not see Yelm’s ballet, Beralor heard the gods mock Orlanth and declare Yelm the winner.  Orlanth, eyes flashed like lightning, and he looked directly at Beralor.  “Some days you are beaten.  But never surrender.”

Now, tonight, tasting his own blood in his mouth, face swollen, Beralor lies on the floor of the oubliette.  There is the cool breeze and the smell of the rainstorm.  As he watches, an adolescent Orlanth appears again and performs the magic of Becoming.  Again, Beralor hears the judges declare Yelm the victor.  This time Orlanth gets down on one knee over Beralor’s beaten body.  He puts his hand on Beralor’s head.  “This day they win...but someday we will come back with the Sword.”  After this, let Beralor use his Air Rune against a Low Difficulty to attempt a “Second Wind.”  If he succeeds, his wounds are healed (he looks battered and bruised still, but feels his strength return).  he feels his bond to the Storm King grow more powerful.

Rescue - Scene One: For Kalliva and Leika it has been seven weeks since the Battle of Red Rock Stead.  Seven weeks since their escape from Roundstone.  Everything in their world has changed, making it unrecognisable.  A year ago, at this time, they were preparing for Founder’s Day as the grain fields ripened under the summer sun.  Now there were no fields to tend.  No flocks or herds to guard over.  There was only the War.

They have been sleeping, eating, and training under the protection of the Red Braid Sisters, of which Kalliva’s mother, Korolmara, is captain.  These dozen or so Vingans are just one of many war-bands in the Sons of Orlanth, composed both of Women who took vows to Vinga after the death of their husbands or brothers, and Women-In-The-Shape-Of-Men.  All are initiates of Vinga Orlanthsdotr.  Korolmara is a devotee.  Korolmara’s lieutenant is Stora Helgarsdotr

They have traveled south with another war band, the Brightblades.  These are led by Gangrath Rogvarthsson.  Now, south of Wilmskirk they skirt Sun Dome Country and meet with a third war band, the Stormshouters.  A surprise waits for them there.  At the Stormshouter camp Ernaldesta waits.  She calls for a council meeting with Korolmara, Stora, Kalliva, Leika, Gangrath and his lieutenant, as well as the Stormshouter captain Jarvan Spearbreaker.

They have a plan.  The Lunar prisoner caravan is encamped two miles to the south.  By tomorrow it will be too late.  They will reach the bulk of the Lunar Army—and the Bat—outside Whitewall.  If the prisoners are to be rescued it has to be tonight.  Ernaldesta’s plan is to ambush them…in a way that only a powerful priestess of Ernalda could.  She plans to open a tunnel in the earth, and to continue to tunnel as the Sons of Orlanth march at her back.  They will go right beneath the Lunar encampment, then open the earth to receive both the prisoners and their captors.  As these plunge into the earth, they attack and rescue the men.

There are a ton of roleplaying opportunities here; Kalliva’s continuing relationship with her birthmother, Gangrath’s crush on Kalliva, Kalliva learning more about Vinga, Elmalandti trying to persuade Leika to join his tradition, etc.  One crucial scene is around the campfire before the raid begins.  Stora will tell the story of Vinga’s Sword; the subtext here is to obliterate the Lunars and erase them from history.  Ernaldesta will quietly ask if she may share a story, and tells the tale of Ernalda showing mercy (Orlanth is fighting the Fire Tribe and takes Elmal captive; Ernalda persuades him to spare the young god’s life, and this display of mercy causes him to join the Storm Tribe).  The message here is the value of mercy instead of vengeance.  Stora looks suspicious.  “I have never heard that story.”  But she takes it no further.

Escape - Scene Two:  Kalf’s fever has grown worse.  In a pool of his own sweat he lies curled up in a ball shivering on the floor.  Suddenly, Esrala is in the room again, but she doesn’t speak to Kalf, she just watches.  Let this play out…he might think it is the Bonewitch again.  It isn’t.  

Can you see me?  The figure says, sounding surprised.  It comes closer and this time looks like Ashart.  It must be because that spirit which enslaves you is dragging you into my world.  

The visitor is actually Skydancer.  Realizing that Kalf can see him, the spirit offers a deal.  It will engage in combat with the disease spirit and try to drive it from Kalf and assist him in escaping…IF he promises to liberate Nightclaw and get him away from the Lunars.  

No roll is needed for this; Skydancer will win.  It drives the disease spirit out and Kalf’s strength begins to return.  Over the day, he grows stronger.  That evening, when the Lunar guard comes to bring his gruel, Skydancer possesses him and frees Kalf from the oubliette.  Kalf can take the Lunar’s curved sword and shield, or grab a spear from the rack in the hall around the oubliette.  He can also take the guard’s key.  

He will now need to rescue both Beralor and Nightclaw.  The spirit can guide him to both, but insists on Nightclaw first (she can be useful to you).  There should be at least one encounter with a guard before Kalf gets to the others.  Make it a simple contest.  The spirit can assist by simultaneously initiating spirit combat with the guard and distracting him.  If Kalf wins, he goes on.

Once Nightclaw is free the spirit re-enters the cat and will fight alongside Kalf as a companion.  He has three abilities, Shadowcat 5W, Spirit Rune 18, Air Rune 15.  As it leads Kalf to Beralor, to add more tension insert another simple contest against two more guards, one for Kalf and one for Nightclaw.  

Before they reach Beralor’s cell, we transition inside his dream.  He is dreaming of the Golden Palace of Yelm, with all the gods assembled.  The Contest of Weapons has come.  Yelm unleashes a golden arrow and it embeds itself in Orlanth’s chest.  The golden arrows blackens and withers away to ash.  Eurmal appears behind Orlanth, again in the form of Keladon Blue-Eye, and hands him a massive iron sword.  Beralor’s heart pounds looking at it.  Orlanth lifts the blade and begins to stride down the hall towards Yelm.  Keladon turns and looks at Beralor.  “Now is the time for the Sword.”

He is woken by Kalf freeing him.  

The spirit has found an escape tunnel in one of the cellars beneath the prison.  It is meant, obviously, for the soldiers not the prisoners.  They will have to fight their way towards escape.  This is extended combat; each faces two opponents (though with Kalf, Nightclaw can take one).  Assuming they defeat the guards, they reach the tunnel and begin their escape…

Rescue - Scene Three:  The rescue begins after sunset.  Ernaldesta strips naked down to her waist, painted from head to toe a light green.  Two sacred snakes coil around her arms.  She dances and chants as Elmalandti beats a hand-held drum for her.  As the assembled warriors watch, mesmerized, they realize even the forest is watching.  Birds have landed in the streets.  Rabbits, foxes, some deer and even a bear circle the clearing and sit in staring silence.  She dances in a wide circle, then slowly spirals towards the center.  As they look on, a depression forms in the ground, growing deeper and deeper.  By the time Ernaldesta reaches the center, a tunnel has opened in the earth.  Korolmara gives the order.  The warriors move in.

As soon as the last warrior enters the tunnel, the earth closes silently behind them.  Ernaldesta dances in the lead, the earth continuing to open before her.  They pass under the roots of trees, past rabbit burrows in the tunnels walls as the mesmerized animals look on.  She will not take us deeper than this, Elmalandti whispers to Leika, Ernalda does not wish to infringe on the territories of the Deep Sisters, Asrelia and Ty Kora Tek.  Leika notices that he refers to her now as the goddess, not by her name as a woman.

Now, to everyone’s stunned amazement, as Ernaldesta continues her entranced dance, not only does the earth open before her but fragrant flowers and soft green grasses spring up beneath her feet.  Fruit-bearing vines grow over the walls of the tunnel, dangling grapes, apples, fruits they have never even seen.  Ernalda’s life-giving power throbs through the walls of the tunnel.  Everyone feels younger, refreshed.  Leika and Kalliva both realize to their surprise that they are singing the same song as the Earth Priestess…in fact everyone is, caught in the Great Mother’s spell.

Eventually, Ernaldesta stops moving forward, and dances in a spiral, outwards now, rather than inwards.  A cavern is opening around them, circular and domed.  The ceiling is rising higher and higher.  At the same time patches of lush green grass and soft moss spring up at various points around the floor.  In other places, hard, jagged stones rises from the soil of the floor.

“Be ready!”  Elmalandti cries out.  As the warriors draw their weapons, a marvel occurs.

Above them the ceiling opens to the night sky…and the occupants of the Lunar encampment come plunging down.  Everywhere a soldier falls, there is a hard stone waiting for him.  Everywhere a prisoner falls…the soft moss and grass catches them.

Witnessing this miracle, the battle begins.

Both Kalliva and Leika will face two opponents in this extended contest, but the difficulty should be kept low.  The soldiers are already battered and terrified, scrabbling to call up their own magics and mount a defense.  Once the pit is open to the sky, Elmalandti calls the Umbroli and the Vingas draw down lighting from a clear sky.  

Play out the battle.  Assuming both player characters survive, Ernaldesta can later heal them.  For now the pit closes above them and the Earth Priestess leads them the way they came.

There are dozens of Haraborn prisoners.  Among them Kalliva finds Beralor’s father, Harvarr.  He is missing his right arm.  I knew you would come for us, he tells her teary eyed.  Where is Beralor?

To Leika’s surprise, her father Faran is there, though she had not seen him amongst the original prisoners.  He is wide-eyed and mute, his mind seemingly damaged.  He does not recognize her nor anything else, but is docile as a kitten as she leads him away.  

Further Scenes: Outside the prison walls, Keladon Blue-Eye awaits them with supplies.  I never left you, he says cryptically, leading them rapidly outside the city an up a high mountain pass.  Over the next couple of days he takes them south.  Role-play as much of this as you like.  Eventually he takes them to a Sons of Orlanth camp where Leika, Kalliva, the Red Braid Sisters, Harvarr and Faran wait.

Additional scenes you may wish to address; Elmalandti again trying to persuade Leika to take up the Kolati Way, Ernaldesta’s failed attempt to regrow Beralor’s arm (it was taken off with Death magic by a Yanafal Tarnils guard during an attempted escape), Elmalandti’s diagnosis that Faran’s mind was broken in his fight against the madness causing Lune and terror causing Dehori, any further romance (if any) between Gangrath and Kalliva as he rides off, Ernaldesta and Elmalandti taking their leave as they head back south to aid Starbrow.  

The rest of the time should be given to the party as they discuss what they should do.  If necessary, Harvarr is there to push them.  You cannot leave your father in bondage Beralor, and I am no longer fit to save him.  As the next story opens in Pimper’s Block, time allowing you can play out the preparation for the journey east, and the characters’ first look at the wastes of Prax stretching out before them…


THE SWORD of Vinga was a slight shift in the campaign thus far from what I would call a "cultural focus" to a "magical" one.  Six Seasons in Sartar was largely "magic free."  The player characters were too young to wield it, and it didn't impact in an obvious way on their lives.  Instead of magic, the six chapters of that book focused on the daily lives of Sartarites, customs and rituals, what it means to be Heortling.  In part this was to ground the world in a sort of reality; the more real the world is, the easier it is to accept the fantasy elements of it.  Yet part of the choice was to reflect my belief that inasmuch as we talk about Glorantha was a mythic world, we often fail to recognize Glorantha is an intensely anthropological one as well.  Her cultures are richly detailed, and unlike high fantasy where the conflict is between Light and Dark or Good and Evil, just like our own world much of the conflict in Glorantha is driven by friction between cultures.  It is hard for those new to Glorantha to get behind the struggle between Orlanth and the Red Goddess to dominate the Middle Air, but they can easily relate to mundane things like a people oppressed by taxation, a people who feel their voices are not heard, or a people who feel their way of life under assault by foreign ways.  

With that grounding behind us, The River of Cradles is a chance to expand the horizons and show what makes the setting so extraordinary.  Namely, its approach to magic.  This will be a theme we come back to time and time again in the chapters ahead.  In so many roleplaying games, magic is essentially just a tool.  It is a quantifiable and repeatable formula that harnesses some sort of power to create an effect.  The climax of this chapter comes when the three Sons of Orlanth warbands follow Ernaldesta underground to attack the Lunar camp.  But this was not simply some sort of "dig" or "move earth" spell...it was the living Goddess channeling her power through her priestess.  It was no more a "spell" than Moses parting the Red Sea.  It felt, I daresay, holy.  Thus finally in this session the players got a sense of why magic is different in Glorantha; it isn't just creating an effect but rather aligning yourself with and in a sense becoming the powers at the heart of the world.  True, to the Malkioni magic is impersonal and mechanistic, but it was very clear to the players in this scene that Ernaldesta was not calling on energies to tunnel through lifeless earth...she was singing to the Goddess for Her to open her womb to them and allow them passage through it.  

This is one of the reasons I like HeroQuest so much.  Magic in RuneQuest is traditionally very specific, very defined, very technical.  I like the more organic, mysterious approach HeroQuest takes.

Thus in the captivity of Beralor and Kalf we see two types of magic at play.  Kalf's encounter with Skydancer was meant to outline the animistic approach to magic.  It was transactional; "you scratch my back, I will scratch yours."  This is really the essence of shamanism and dealing with spirits.  It is an exchange of services.  Compare this to Beralor's theistic experience.  Here Beralor recalls and re-experiences the myths of Orlanth he knows from childhood, and the act of reliving these myths opens magic to him.  He isn't exchanging services with Orlanth, he is in a sense surrendering to Orlanth or becoming Orlanth in return for a miraculous healing.  The theistic approach is not transactional, it's sacrificial.  Whether you are sacrificing bulls or your own personal identity doesn't make much difference.  Initiates and Devotees become more divine and powerful the more they mirror and become their gods.

So Kalf and Beralor manage to escape the Lunars with the help of a god and a spirit, and Nightclaw--the alynx now independent of the allied spirit that possessed it--becomes a new companion for Kalf.  Two of Kalf's Runes--Beast, Air, and Stasis--match those of Yinkin, and this is just the beginning of exploring that (whether or not the character ever actually joins the Yinkin cult).  Beralor's Runes are the same as Orlanth's, so this episode was about exploring and deepening that connection.

Of all the characters, the one closest to actually going a "cult" (though really, we are talking a "tradition" here) is Leika.  Faran's daughter has already been trained as a Spirit-Talker by her father, and now her Spirit Rune is awoken.  What tears her is which tradition to explore.  In this episode Elmalandti continues to make the case she should embrace her father's tradition and follow Kolat.  

Kalliva, meanwhile, struggles with her identity.  Born red-haired, and sharing two Runes with Orlanth (Air and Mastery), she is being drawn to Vinga.  Yet the discovery that Kallessa was not her mother, and that her "aunt," the Vingan warrior Korolmara is, has her questioning who and what she is.  

The title, The Sword of Vinga, is a reference to the fact that her blade is named "Vengeance."  In a sense there is a bit of Newton's Third Law in this story.  The Lunars decimated the Haraborn, and now the player characters strike back.  The scene around the campfire, where Stora sings the song of Vinga and Vengeance and Ernaldesta responds with a song about showing mercy, sets up a question for the characters; which path will they take?

We ended up running Beralor and Kalf's escape from prison and Kalliva and Leika participating in the rescue of the Lunar prisoners simultaneously.  In other words, all the players were together in an extended combat against their opponents even though the characters were separated by many miles.  This allowed for a very cinematic back and forth cut scene technique.  This is again a kind of storytelling trick I think HeroQuest excels at.

The few remaining Haraborn men rescued, and Kalf and Beralor reunited with them as well as the rest of the party, made the next stage clear.  The player characters will go to Pimper's Block and try to pick up the trail of the women and children sold into slavery.  Two interesting subplots were explored as well; since Harvarr's arm cannot be regrown through healing magic, his son Beralor is already thinking of going to the Mostali for a mechanical one.  An intriguing idea.  Meanwhile, Elmalandti has taken her father to be treated by other shamans of the Kolati tradition.  This increases her connection with them.

Both Leika and Kalf sent word to their paramours (Three Bears and Esrala) but it looks like they will be going to Prax without them.  We shall see.



  1. Great stuff!
    I'd be very interested in seeing your stats for Ernaldesta. You're managing to make more use of her than I ever have. Are you starting with the ones in OiD and Gathering Thunder, or something else?