[I should probably note that "The Saturday Game" is a misnomer. We've been switching back and forth randomly between Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate everyone's schedule. We've been starting at 1PM and one of the players has to leave by 5, although he's often left late. He therefore asked if we could start an hour earlier from now on, so as to get more playing time in.
Incidentally, I don't cook for them. Back when I did big games at my old place in Malden I barbecued or made chili and buttermilk biscuits, or spaghetti, meat sauce, and garlic bread (and occasionally tried other meals as well); I love cooking for people. But the problem is that it takes too bleeping long to cook all that food! So if I do decide to cook for everyone, I'll arrange it in advance and cook after the game. That way they can bring their families over as well, if they'd like.]
When last we saw the party they had emerged from a mysterious tunnel in pursuit of a lost boy. They hadn't known it, but the blessing of a mysterious stranger had given them the power to leave their safe and comfortable world - the first mortals to do so in a thousand years. Now they are looking for the first time at a world that is entirely new to them.
[Another note: We had picked up a new player in the previous session. Zack, the player of Gormuz the great troll, had brought his father Mike along to play. He had asked to play a dragonewt, and since the party was headed for Glorantha I agreed. The one drawback was that I'd planned to run Apple Lane to introduce them to the world...and I suspected that Mike, Zack's father, had probably already been through it. Besides, it stuck in my craw to rely on a pre-published scenario, even a classic like Apple Lane. Once again my imagination came through for me in the hours before the session; I would use the setting of Apple Lane, but use a completely different set of opponents and NPCs. The party would encounter Apple Lane well after the events of the published scenario. In the interim the baboon bandits were driven away (and in a realization of semi-synchronicity, I realized that they had taken refuge in the home world of the party, becoming the party of invading baboons that they'd fought in the second session). Who had driven the baboon marauders out of Apple Lane? Time will tell!
They found themselves high on a shrubby hillside; the land before and below them was green forest, and seemed to stretch on forever. The cave exit was small, small enough that the great troll had to squeeze and wiggle a little. It was also heavily overgrown, as was the entire hillside. The party decided to mark the area with bits of twine tied to branches to allow them to find their way home again.
Climbing down the hill they made their way to a nearby dirt road. There they found a strange reptilian creature watching them; to their surprise it spoke their language. It was a dragonewt, taking a quick look in the daylight for refugees and stragglers to bring back into a place of safety. After displaying some curiosity about the elf (who was unlike any Gloranthan elf, since he was meat rather than vegetable and looked a bit different), he introduced himself; his name was Sith'liss (and he was a PC, Mike's character). He explained that they were all in terrible danger. A large and relatively well-organized gang of broos had been terrorizing the area in the night, killing or driving off almost all of the residents of Apple Lane and destroying many of the buildings. A small number of travelers had holed up in the town inn, and were preparing for what was likely to be a difficult siege. Some had tried to escape the area, but most had been caught and killed; there was no town closer than two days travel away.
There ensued much explanation. Chaos? Broos? The party began to see that this was a very different world indeed. They also discovered that the boy they were tracking had been rescued from the broo the day before, but was catatonic and being cared for at the inn. The dragonewt brought them there and introduced them to the defenders. They were Biturian Varosh, a Goldentongue priest of Issaries, and Norayeep his wife; Valdir Deathwind, an aging Sword of Humakt; and Kennon Lightson, a priest of Yelmalio with two initiates, Mia and Mya. There were also three badly injured patients in a sick room upstairs. One was the boy they'd been searching for. Another was a nameless victim of the broo, infected with disease and therefore kept as far from the others as possible. The third was the woman who had formerly kept the village temple; she was badly injured when the broo attacked and half-demolished the structure several nights ago. There was also "Idiot Girl", a mute and peculiar little girl who was uninjured, but couldn't be counted among the defenders due to her age and incapacity.
After the Gloranthans briefly discussed the newcomers and agreed that the elf was not chaotic, they continued their interrupted conversation: the nearby barn had seven horses and eleven or twelve cattle. It seemed likely that the barn couldn't be defended; they might be able to pack the horses into the inn, but the cattle would certainly not fit. Rather than allow the broo to "breed" them (as they surely would), it seemed best to kill them before nightfall. With the party's help they moved the horses to the inn. They then slaughtered the cattle, butchered as much meat and hide from them as they could in the short time available (Ophelia took the opportunity to practice her leatherworking skill), and set fire to the barn and remains.
The inn itself was stone, although the doors, shutters, and roof were wood. Extra planks were salvaged from those huts and shacks which seemed least likely to be disease-infested (broo are notorious carriers of disease) and used to board up the windows and doors. They also hastily arranged shooting blinds at regular spots along the first-floor roof. I should explain that the inn had two stories, the upper one much smaller than the lower. There was a door from the second floor which opened onto the first-floor roof, which provided a border of ten feet on each of the front and back sides, and closer to twenty feet on the sides. There was also a trap door from the second floor which opened onto the second-floor roof.
Their preparations were not quite finished by nightfall. But they finished them in the darkness, and settled down to wait.
Copyright 2012 by Peter Maranci. Revised: November 29, 2012. v.1.0