When last we saw the party they were barricading themselves in an inn in an abandoned village as night fell. Chaotic monsters had been prowling the area, and an attack was expected that night. Apart from the three party members there were also seven horses (well-tied and hobbled), a Rune-Lord of Humakt, a priest of Yelmalio with two solider-initiates, a Goldentongue priest of Issaries with his wife, three unconscious patients, and an apparently insane little girl.
[Once again I was able to come up with some fun ideas in the night and morning before the game. I knew that this would be a big battle, but I wanted it to be more than just "monsters attack, defenders defend". I needed something to make the broo interesting and different. Incidentally, if you're not familiar with Glorantha, broo are goat-headed men and carriers of Chaos; horrific and tainted with Chaotic features, which means that each one can posses unique and bizarre powers. I wanted the broos - which I took to calling the "Broo Man Group" - to have some interesting twists, something that would make the party think. That worked out nicely.]
The windows had been boarded up. The door had been fortified with more planks. On the first-floor roof, the party watched as the nearby barn burned to the ground. The smoke smelled of burning meat. Night had fallen.
Bows at the ready, they waited. The Yelmalian priest waited on the roof with them; his initiates stayed down below, inside, to fight off any intruders. The Humakti waited below too, since he was under geas never to use ranged weapons. The Goldentongue priest joined the party on the roof while his wife stayed indoors below to try keep the horses from panicking. An hour passed...then two.
It began with a faintly glowing blue streak, zig-zagging through the ruins of the village and streaking toward the inn. As it got closer, it grew more distinct: the upper half of a broo, transparent and ghostly. Arrows couldn't touch it, and it went through the door of the inn as if it weren't there. Screams erupted from the ground floor, and the horses neighed in terror.
[This was Spirit Boy, one of the Blue Broo. His chaotic feature was that he had a permanent spirit form, but could interact with and see the material world. His Power was 22, which made him quite formidable. He was there as a scout.]
The blue phantom surveyed the ground floor, then headed up to the second floor. Scouting both the small second-floor rooms and the roof, he shrugged off a Befuddle spell attempt from the Light Priest and sped back into the darkness.
Shapes were moving there. One of them was titanic, larger even than the great troll; around fifteen feet tall, it towered over most of the ruins. Massive horns silhouetted against the sky and the ground shook. The blue ghost circled his head.
[This was Tiny, whose chaotic feature was "Huge". He wasn't terribly bright, but he was strong and could take a lot of damage. He was also not entirely what he seemed.]
Other broo swarmed around him, a dozen or so. A few of them were blue, but seemed material; they were walking on the ground. As they cleared the rubble, most of the broo broke into a run towards the inn. The defenders on the roof let arrows fly. A lucky impale to the abdomen brought Tiny to a stop; he made controlled fall backward. Two of the broo worked on his wound, trying to extract the arrow as the others charged forward. Arrows continued to fly from the party. The lead broo made it to the inn door, however, and everyone in the inn heard a strange but memorable sound: the "plunk" of wood under pressure being suddenly relieved. With one swipe of his hand the lead broo had split the door and all the boards protecting it in half.
[This was "Average Joe". His skills and abilities were actually rather mediocre. But he had the chaotic feature of vaporizing wood by touch. Earlier that day while scavenging for lumber, one of the party had noticed a perfect handprint-shaped hole in a wooden door...but he never put two and two together.]
Battles can be tedious, so I'll skip the details and hit the high points.
Average Joe met a not-so-average death almost immediately on the doorstep, when Gormuz threw a small boulder down at him from the roof and caved his chest in.
Skilled Joseph (another broo with increased Intelligence) worked skillfully on Tiny, extracting his arrow and healing him. Tiny lumbered to his feet and moved towards the inn again. The party concentrated their fire on him.
The Hamburger was the last to reach the inn. He lurched about clumsily, in large part because of his chaotic feature: he looked like (and essentially was) ground meat. This made him horrifying to look at (roll POW x 3 or be minus 50% on all visually-targeted skills against him), as well as restricting any damage he received to his total hit points; he could not be incapacitated in any hit location. Eventually he ran out of meat, however, and became rotten and inanimate.
Kronstein the broo (I'm not sure why that name jumped into my mind for him) was smart; he had climbed up onto the roof of the half-ruined temple nearby and sniped at the rooftop defenders with his magic bow. His chaotically enhanced Dexterity allowed him a rapid rate of fire. He met his match in the Dominica, however, who was just as fast, nearly as skilled, and - most important - was protected by an eight-point protection spell from Ophelia. After a long duel at distance, Kronstein took an arrow in the chest and fell out of sight. He bled to death alone on the temple roof.
The party never really encountered Blindside. Surrounded by a permanent personal Darkwall effect, he was among the broo who penetrated the first-floor defenses. A Sunspear spell from the Light Priest killed him.
Snakey was an odd one; he moved at great speed on his belly, twice as fast as a man could run. As I recall, he took some killing; it took both the party and the NPCs to bring him down.
The three material Blue Brothers died within moments of each other. Eldest Blue was killed by the party; his power (apart from a continuous Mindlink with his brothers) was an incredibly sickening smell (Con x 4 or -20% on all skills). Middle Blue died quickly, his useless chaotic feature (he glowed, which made him 10% easier to hit) contributing to his ignominious death. Little Blue gave the party a fright on the doorstep; his constant narration was unnerving, but it was far more unnerving when Gormuz found himself obeying the narrative and unable to drop a boulder on the talkative monster! The Humakti inside the inn used a Sever Spirit to silence Little Blue forever.
At one point Dominica started to climb up onto the second-floor roof, only to be surprised by a dagger pointed directly between her eyes. It was held by Idiot Girl, who had sensibly scrambled to the safest place she could find. Recognizing Dominica, the girl retreated to a corner of the roof and let her come up.
Plate and Shatter were among the later casualties. One of them wounded Norayeep badly, and the other killed Mya; between the party and NPCs, both were killed. Plate had skin like crystal which gave him the equivalent of 12-13 points of armor all over his body. Shatter had the odd effect of shattering into tiny shards when the hit points of a location were destroyed; after losing an arm, he was completely reduced to bits with a blow to the head.
Tiny was impaled again well outside the inn, and once again went down. Again he was worked on, and got up. After another abortive advance he turned and started to flee, but the defenders brought him down. They also started shooting at Skilled Joseph, whose skill couldn't enable him to evade a couple of arrows in the back. He fell too, dying.
Spirit Boy came back and tried to possess Gormuz. This was not an even battle, since the great troll had a POW of 11 and Spirit Boy had 22. As Spirit Boy clawed himself a new home inside Gormuz's soul, the great troll struggled in vain. Finally Sith'liss used a mysterious draconic effect, befuddling the spirit. It left the troll and floated idly near the ceiling.
The defenders decided to get out of the inn and burn it down; it was badly infested with disease, and the shards of Shatter seemed to be slowly flowing back together. They brought the invalids down from the second floor over the first-floor roof, along with whatever provisions they had which seemed untainted. Five of the seven horses were removed, but before the last two could be moved one of them started neighing frantically; the party didn't know it, but Spirit Boy had come to his senses and decided to posses the equine on the chance of using it as a Trojan Horse, if you'll pardon the expression.
The inn burned about as well as you'd expect a stone building to burn; the interior went up, along with the furnishings. As the roof fell in Spirit Boy could be seen zooming away at great speed. The battle was over; only two of the broo had survived. The Light Priest invoked divine intervention to bring back the sole casualty among the defenders, his initiate Mya. Dawn broke.
The defenders camped out in two of the least-damaged (and untainted) huts nearby. After some discussion they sent Sith'liss to bring a message to the nearest large town; healers were needed to sanitize the ruins of the village (and, of course, the loot). Sages were also asked to come. It took a week for the necessary experts to arrive, and the sages questioned the party with much interest after certifying that they were not creatures of Chaos. The troll taught them the Imbue skill, a bit of magical lore previously unknown to them; he had no idea of how valuable that knowledge was!
[The one thing that the party never caught on to was that the broo were under the control of a single leader: Big Daddy. He was Size 1, very difficult to see, and could jump up to 30 meters. It's possible that he had some flea in his ancestry. He could also link with any broo that he touched, combing his Power and Intelligence with theirs to make a formidable and magically almost-invulnerable enemy. Normally he rode Tiny, but when Tiny fell he was forced to flee - or flea - on foot. Since Spirit Boy is his only surviving servant, the party may eventually see him again - or more likely not see him - again some day. But not soon!]
[Normally I would have removed that last paragraph, since the players might read it here. But Glorantha is effectively dead of old age in my campaign, and there's no way they'll be meeting any of the broo from there again. So I'm leaving it in. Besides, it will be an interesting test to see if they're reading these writeups! ]
Copyright 2012 by Peter Maranci. Revised: November 30, 2012. v.1.1