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Hârn Campaign (2005 - 2006)

Pepper and Spice – Part 2: Doomsayer, Session 2

Note: Hârn specific terms are underlined. Place your cursor over the word and the definition of the word will appear.

Scenario Author: Edwyn Kumar and N. Robin Crossby
Scenario Publisher Columbia Games, Inc.
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: June 5, 2005
Game System: HârnMaster III
Game Master: Allan Goodall
Characters: Kieran of Boru, a Fyvrian Shek-Pvar Satia-Mavari (Jason Gallagher); Merrick of Larani, an ex-gladiator and mercenary (Jimmy Pope); S'arnat of Pherisa, an artist/cartographer (Alana Goodall)

Spoiler Warning: This scenario is taken from the Columbia Games HârnMaster supplement Trobridge Inn. If you are a Hârn player you may wish to ask your Game Master if they intend to run this scenario before reading this write-up, as pertinent scenario information will be revealed.

12th of Nuzyael, 720 TR, 3rd Watch

Trobridge Inn, on the Salt Route

Kieran had cast the Balm of Griesan spell with some success. He had another spell in his repertoire, though its results were less dramatic in the short term. Nurture of Isla promoted healing over time. He explained this to S'arnat and Merrick, and they both agreed to let the Shek-Pvar cast the spell on them.

This was not without its risks, as Kieran had less experience with this spell than Balm of Griesan. If successful, the "patient" would fall deeply asleep for a few moments. When they awoke, it would have been like their wound had healed for a few days.

Kieran began casting Nurture of Isla on S'arnat. The Form was flawed and he had to abort the spell. He sat down and rested for a few moments before attempting to cast it again.

The mage stood up and cast the spell a second time. He thought the Form was perfect, so he let the Principle flow into the Form. Suddenly the Principle erupted from the Form in a brilliant cascade of bright green light. The floor of the room creaked, ominously. When the light had faded from their eyes, they saw a large mound of earth in the middle of the room.

The mound moved, rising up into a vaguely human shape. As it rose, the floor creaked more ominously. Kieran recognized the creature. It was an earth elemental, a sentient, ethereal creature made entirely of rock and soil.

Merrick drew his sword and moved toward the elemental. Kieran and S'arnat wasted no time in leaving the room. They watched from the open door as Merrick pulled his two-handed sword back and swung it through the creature's mid-section. There was the rasp of metal on dirt as the sword sliced through the creature. The elemental's substance parted before his blade, but reformed behind the blade. It appeared completely unhurt as it looked down at its mid-section then back at Merrick.

The elemental swung a massive fist at Merrick. Merrick side-stepped the blow. The creature brought its fist above its head, and then swung down at the gladiator. Merrick jumped out of the way, but the elemental struck him in the calf, giving him a nasty bruise.

Merrick called for the others to get water. Perhaps they could drown the creature, or at least soften it. S'arnat headed for the stairs. She yelled for Kieran to get a torch. If water didn't work, perhaps fire would. Kieran followed her down the stairs.

The gladiator aimed his sword at the creature's head, but the thrust missed. The elemental swung its fist at Merrick. As the fist passed his chest, Merrick spun around and sliced into the creature's head. His sword passed through the elemental's head, doing no obvious damage.

It was clear that he couldn't harm the creature, so Merrick tried a different tactic. He laid down his sword, and backed away from the elemental with his hands up. The creature looked at him, its head tilting from side to side. It looked around and saw a nearby window. It threw open the window and jumped out.

S'arnat was in the courtyard gathering water when she heard something heavy land outside the inn's wall. She turned in time to see the elemental ooze into the ground beneath Kieran's window. She saw Merrick move to the window and look down. She let the bucket fall back into the well.

Kieran found a torch in the common room. He took it from the sconce and ran back upstairs. Terlin saw him and yelled, "Here, now!" after the retreating mage. Kieran rushed into his room, but the elemental was gone. Merrick stood at the window, looking out.

The Shek-Pvar saw why the floor had been creaking. The elemental was massive, and it had warped the wooden floor boards. It was a miracle the floor hadn't given way. Kieran put the torch in an empty sconce, and then started moving the room's meager furniture. Merrick helped him rearrange the furnishings.

They heard footsteps in the hall, so they stopped moving furniture. Terlin came into the room and looked around. Evidently he didn't notice the warped floor, as he said nothing about it. Instead he focused on Kieran. "You take heed! There's no need to scurry around with a lit torch. You'll burn the inn to the ground!" Terlin turned and left.

S'arnat returned to the room. All three adventurers sat on her bed until their breathing had returned to normal. So far this morning had been too exciting by far! Merrick looked down at his bruise. It was minor; it would stop aching within a day.

Kieran was willing to try healing S'arnat with one of his spells, again, if she was up to it. S'arnat reluctantly agreed to let Kieran treat her. Once again, Kieran cast Nurture of Isla. This time the Form was fine. Warmth flowed over her as she slipped into a deep, dreamless sleep. When she awoke a few moments later, she felt like the wound was healing.

The Shek-Pvar now turned his attention to Merrick. With the gladiator's permission, he cast Balm of Griesan on Merrick's bruise. The bruise stopped aching immediately, and soon faded entirely.

That left Kieran's wounds as the only ones untreated. He made himself comfortable on S'arnat's bed, while she and Merrick stood off near the door, watching. He cast Nurture of Isla on himself. The first time, the Form was imperfect and he had to abort the spell. The second time, the form was perfect but the Principle got away from him. Green lightning arced from his finger tips and struck S'arnat. She fell to the floor, unconscious.

Merrick picked S'arnat up and carried her to the bed. Several long moments passed before S'arnat's eyes opened. She sat up and stared angrily at the mage. He apologized, and then asked her how she felt. She had to admit that the pain in her shoulder was now greatly reduced. Even so, she was not sticking around for the mage to make yet another mistake. The 15th of Nuzyael marked one of the few days holy to Siem, her god. She needed a blue bowl for her religious ceremony and only had three days to get it. She decided that this was a wonderful time for her to pick up a blue bowl and a yard of blue linen from the merchants in town. She left the room.

Kieran cast Nurture of Isla on himself, again. Once again the Principle ran loose, out of his control. Merrick ducked as lightning shot around the room. The Principle hit Kieran, who fell asleep on the bed. A couple of moments later he woke up. Merrick asked him how he felt. Kieran answered in a language totally unknown to him or the gladiator. Kieran could understand what he was saying, but could not make it come out in Hârnic. Several moments passed before he could talk normally. Merrick decided now was a good time to leave the mage to his own devices.

S'arnat left the inn and proceeded down the road to the potter's shop, which was also the road leading to the river. A block down the road she saw a large crowd of townsfolk gathering on the street. A couple of people in the crowd had spears, but everyone else was armed with pitchforks, scythes, daggers, or carrying a torch. A band of Terlin's men ran past her and tried to restrain the crowd. They didn't have much luck. The crowd's yelling became louder, and it surged past Terlin's soldiers. There were more than 30 people in the crowd, headed up the street toward the inn.

As the crowd marched past S'arnat, she asked what was going on. An angry man answered her. "The Ilvirans! We want them gone, or dead. Preferably dead!"

By this time, Merrick had caught up to S'arnat. He ran through the crowd, toward it's leaders. As he passed by there were hushed intonations of his name. "Merrick," said one man in recognition. "Merrick," murmured a woman in admiration. "He was killin' them things last night!" cried an old woman. Apparently his involvement in killing the vlasta in the wee hours of the morning had added substantially to the reputation he received for standing up to Kurson's men.

Merrick stood in front of the crowd. He called for them to calm down and appeal to reason. For all that his voice boomed over the mob, they appeared to be beyond reason. Someone yelled, "Get the Ilvirans!" Another cried out, "To the Ilvirans!" Another even yelled, "Merrick is with us!" The mob surged forward, past Merrick. The gladiator turned and followed, while S'arnat raced for the inn.

The mob marched past the inn, heading out of town to where they believed the pilgrims of Ilvir had camped. Merrick grabbed hold of one of the townsfolk and explained that an angry mob was not likely to dispense justice. The townsman was so moved by Merrick that he turned and headed back to his shop. Merrick caught up to a woman and convinced her to do the same. However, at the rate he was going he would only have been able to convince two or three others by the time the mob reached the Ilviran camp.

S'arnat ran into the inn. In the common room were Sir Rayneld, Sir Friedlam, and Terlin. She quickly told them what was happening. Terlin seemed unperturbed. "Good on them!" he spat. It was his impression that the evening's vlasta attack had something to do with the pilgrims.

Kieran came downstairs as S'arnat said, "You won't send men?" Kieran had been unsuccessful at casting his magic, and gave up after three more tries.

"I will send men, but it won't be to stop the mob," replied Terlin.

Kieran suggested that he and S'arnat go and see how Merrick had fared with the crowd. They left the inn and hurried down the street.

The mob was nearly to the pilgrims' camp by the time Kieran and S'arnat had caught up with it. Merrick pushed his way to the front of the crowd, again. As before, the townsfolk called his name as he passed them. Once he got to the front of the crowd Merrick tried to reason with the crowd, but to no avail. The crowd was beyond reason and beyond control as it surged toward the Ilvirans' camp. Merrick jogged along in front of it. He was determined to get to the Ilvirans ahead of the mob.

The camp was a simple collection of tents around an open fire. Most of the pilgrims were in their tents when Merrick arrived shortly ahead of the townsfolk. A pilgrim in his late twenties came forward. Merrick advised him, and the other Ilvirans, to lay down their arms. The pilgrim assured Merrick that they were unarmed.

The crowd slowed as it arrived at the camp. Now that they saw the pilgrims up close, their resolve had melted. For a few surreal moments, the crowd and the pilgrims stood staring at each other.

An old man in a pilgrim's cowl tottered forward. His eyes were shut, but it was clear that the sockets behind his eyelids were empty. He felt his way forward with a walking stick. He walked past Merrick until he came to a small boulder. He climbed onto the rock and turned to the crowd. He waited until the townsfolk were quiet before he addressed them.

"Men and women of Trobridge, do not anger the Blessed Serpent more. The Father of the Ivashu has sent you warning. He grants you a reminder of the certain approach of death, and He has told me with divine vision that only I, Leritek, his most devoted follower, can appease his wrath. Consider this a blessing, for the Lord of the Fatherless Multitude has deemed you worthy of protection."

As Leritek paused, the people in the crowd muttered to each other. The Ilviran continued without waiting for them to be quiet. "Forgotten and cold by your broken bridge lies a tower that holds many secrets of ages long past." This got the crowd's attention, and they grew quiet again. "You have been told that danger lies there. You have been told lies. That tower is a holy site. That tower belongs to the Great One. All your troubles will cease if the Tower is returned to Him."

He took a deep breath. His voice rose in pitch and intensity. "Grant me access to the tower. Do this simple thing and your days of fear and death will I banish and thereby restore your lives and village to the blessings of Peoni. I await your good sense."

The crowd was still for several heartbeats, then someone yelled, "Burn him!" Another yelled, "Stone them all!" Another voice cried out, "No! Ilvir will punish us! Do as he says!" A fierce debate ran through the crowd. A woman yelled, "Give him the tower!" Another said, "Kurson would never allow it." "To Gashang with Kurson!" called an old man. Some of the more vocal townsfolk tried to yell over each other, but most of the crowd remained calm, trying to decide what to do. Enough wanted blood, though, that the situation was still very tense.

Kieran made his way through the crowd to where Merrick was standing. Together they lifted Leritek from the rock. Kieran climbed onto it.

"People of Trobridge," called Kieran. "I am Kieran of Boru. Merrick and I will investigate the priest's claims." He told the crowd to be calm, that he and Merrick would handle everything.

The crowd went quiet again. Then, beside S'arnat, an old woman yelled, "Burn them!" A murmur rose from the crowd. The old woman picked up a rock and made ready to throw it at Leritek. S'arnat bumped the old woman with her elbow. The rock fell from the woman's hand.

Thinking quickly, Kieran called out, "We must see Kurson! He will know what to do!" Murmured assent rose from the crowd. "To Kurson!" he yelled, and gestured back toward the town. "To Kurson!" echoed back several members of the mob. The crowd turned around and marched back toward Trobridge.

A squad of Terlin's mercenaries stood by as the crowd marched past. Merrick walked over to them. He ordered the nearest sergeant-at-arms to protect the Ilvirans until they had a chance to investigate further. The sergeant-at-arms agreed to do so. Merrick, Kieran, and S'arnat headed back to Trobridge, behind the crowd.

As the crowd passed the inn, it began to disperse as the less enthusiastic townsfolk headed home. Less than a third of the mob was left to march on Kurson's manor house. The three adventurers didn't follow the mob that far. Instead, they turned off at Trobridge Inn and went in to talk to Terlin.

The trio met Terlin in the inn's common room. They described what happened. They asked Terlin what he knew about the tower. The tower was about 600 years old, dating back to the days of Lothrim the Fowlspawner. The tower was said to be haunted. People had entered the tower, never to return. Currently the tower was under the control of Kurson and his thugs, who used it as a watchtower.

Sir Rayneld came down the stairs, followed by Sir Friedlam. Terlin opined that Kurson would never let Leritek into the tower. He would be more likely to just throw the priest in irons. Terlin admitted that he leaned in that direction himself.

The adventurers stated that they thought it was best to investigate the tower anyway. If there was nothing in the tower they could perhaps convince Kurson to let Leritek into it, thereby gaining the priest's help at no cost. It was certain that Kurson was even now hearing about Leritek and the tower. Even if he had no intention of letting the blind priest into the tower, he would want to search it himself. They couldn't afford to let Kurson find whatever might be hidden there.

Sir Rayneld agreed with the adventurers. They had to investigate the tower before Kurson did. That would be problematic, seeing as Kurson's men were already in the tower. Sir Friedlam believed that it was best to rush the tower now, before Kurson could reinforce it. He felt it was the only way to minimize the disruption and the bloodshed. Merrick suggested putting together a decoy caravan to distract Kurson's men at the tower. The knights turned it down as it would take too long to set up. Several other options were suggested, but ultimately rejected. After a lengthy discussion, Sir Friedlam's idea won out. He would lead four of Terlin's men and join Kieran, Merrick, and S'arnat on a raid against the tower. They would hold off Kurson's men until reinforcements arrived. The adventurers would search the tower. Sir Friedlam prepared the mercenaries. The three adventurers gathered supplies, including torches and 60 feet of rope.

The troupe trotted out of the inn and down the road toward the mill owned by Herl of Pherisa, S'arnat's uncle. They turned right at the first major road, which led to the destroyed bridge. They hugged the edge of the road as the closed in on the tower.

The group stopped about 50 yards from the tower. They saw men walking by the open windows on both floors of the small, square stone structure. Sir Friedlam counted at least two men, possibly three. Kieran said he would sneak forward and report what he saw. The knight agreed.

Kieran slipped up to within a couple of yards of the tower, using trees for cover. He could see only a single guard on the ground floor. He attempted to cast Syncope of Shalor, a sleeping spell, on this guard, but he had to abort the spell at the last second.

Merrick sneaked half way between Kieran and the troupe. He saw Kieran cast the spell for a second time, but the look on Kieran's face suggested that it was not succesful. Kieran left the tower and slipped past Merrick and back to Sir Friedlam. He told the knight what he was trying to do. He asked the knight to stay back while he tried to cast the spell again. The knight told him to move forward, but to be quick about it. It surely wouldn't be long before Kurson sent men to investigate the tower. Kieran sneaked past Merrick and up to the tower once more. He tried casting the spell again, but he failed.

S'arnat suggested to Sir Friedlam that if there was a diversion it might draw at least one of the guards out of the tower. The knight agreed. He sent two of his men down the road, pretending they were drunk. The men dropped their swords and shields, and staggered down the street.

The mercenaries loudly yelled at each other with slurred speech. The guard on the main floor came out of the tower to see what the problem was. Merrick, who was hiding behind some trees, ran for the guard. The guard had his back to him and didn't hear the gladiator approach. Merrick struck the guard, stunning him.

Kieran waved for Sir Friedlam. The knight rushed forward. The two armed mercenaries and S'arnat ran with him as the two actors went back for their swords. Merrick rushed into the tower. Kieran followed, with the knight not far behind. They quickly overpowered the two guards in the tower. The troupe had captured the tower.

Kieran noticed strange carvings on the wall. The carvings were of some form of humanoid animal, but he didn't have time to study them. Instead, he inspected the room. The main floor was sparsely furnished. There were no tapestries to hold in the heat. There was a barrel of water, a table and chair, and some salted meat on the table. A small fireplace kept out the chill. Stone stairs led to the second floor. Set into the middle of the floor was a wooden door with a ring in it. Kieran pulled on the ring. Below the door was a 10 foot deep shaft with a cellar at the bottom. Leading out of the cellar was a passageway through the earth and rock. Metal rungs were set into the wall of the shaft. There was no question that they would have to investigate the cellar.

Merrick lit a torch, tied a length of rope around his body and began climbing down the rungs. He made it safely to the bottom with all rungs holding his weight. His torch showed the passage ahead of him was flooded with water. S'arnat climbed down and lit a torch when she got to the bottom. A few moments later, Kieran did the same thing. Meanwhile, Merrick tied the rope to the bottom rung. He waded into the water.

Although cold, the water was never more than 2 feet deep. On the other side was an open area about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. He called for the others to join him.

This open area had a jagged ceiling about 7 feet high. There were old, empty rotten crates in a corner. The floor sloped downward to a "T" intersection. They walked to the "T" and looked both ways. The way to the left continued for about 10 feet and then turned right. The way to the right continued for as far as they could see with their torches. Kieran rested for a few minutes. His spell casting had tired him, and he wanted to conserver his energy in case he had to cast a spell. After a brief respite, he got up and the trio moved on.

They decided to go to their right. After about 20 feet the passage ended in a cave in. They immediately turned around and went down the other branch of the "T". The bend was actually an inverted "Y". Straight ahead was water, but around the corner was a passage that went at least 30 feet straight ahead. They followed this passage.

Merrick was in the lead, with Kieran trailing behind. Kieran sat down for a break while the other two moved ahead. The passage sloped downward. About 15 feet down the passage S'arnat felt something grab her ankle. She screamed in shock and pulled away. The roof of the passageway rumbled as it began to collapse. S'arnat jumped forward. The tunnel between her and Kieran caved in. Dust coated S'arnat. She picked up her still-lit torch and stood up. They were lucky. There was enough space for Kieran to crawl through, and she was unhurt.

As Kieran crawled through, S'arnat looked for evidence of whatever it was that grabbed her ankle. She eventually found a very slender, finely made strand of red material no more than several hairs thick. Kieran recognized it immediately as Sindarin rope.

They proceeded forward with more caution. They were in another big cavern that ended in a "T" shape. To the right was another pool of water. To the left the passage ended in yet another "T". Kieran turned to the left while Merrick waded into the water.

The pool was only 10 feet across. It was about a foot and a half deep. Merrick waded through it. He came to yet another "T" passage. He turned left.

Kieran's passage bent right, and then proceeded forward for a good 30 feet. He could see a light approaching. It was Merrick. The two passages looped around and met up. They called for S'arnat to join them.

While the two men moved through the cavern, S'arnat took the time to utter a short prayer to Siem. She caught up to Merrick and Kieran. Merrick took the lead, and Kieran followed in the rear. The passage Kieran took continued straight ahead past the wide junction where he met Merrick. Merrick decided to move straight ahead through this passage.

Merrick was three feet in front of S'arnat and already five feet down the passage when a strange shiver ran up S'arnat's spine. She stopped and took a step back. The sensation subsided. She moved forward and it intensified, but then faded as she kept walking. She called for Merrick. Kieran moved to her side.

She explained how she felt at that point in the cavern. Kieran went up to the cavern wall and inspected it. "It's a wall," he said.

S'arnat walked up to the wall. The feeling intensified. She reached out. Her finger tips tingled as she touched the wall. By playing her hands over the wall, she was able to mark an outline of a door.

Kieran realized that S'arnat had discovered a magically hidden door. Somehow latent psychic powers had taken that moment to manifest. Perhaps it was due to the magic in the door. Perhaps it was her prayer to Siem. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. At any rate, the young scribe was psychic. Kieran looked at her with greater appreciation, and then turned his attention to the hidden door.