[In the Shadow of the Mountain] Fourth Session – Tension in the Mountain

After the long wait between the third and the fourth session, we have scheduled a session for Monday, and hopefully, we can schedule one in another few weeks. And so, here’s the

This one saw some interesting developments in the dynamics between the characters. The first two sessions had Maki in the hold and Spider in the mountain, with Smith going back and forth between them. Third session was filled with action, and had them all running back and forth across the hold and out to the mountain, playing up against a number of npc’s.

This time, on the other hand, they were all pent up in the caves, waiting for Ron to arrive (cue the Waiting for Godot references). This meant a lot of back and forth, and caused a couple of conflicts that they couldn’t solve through distance, particularly between Maki and Spider. The Hardholder and the Hocus had some interesting showdowns, with Maki trying to keep his domain together while Spider keeps strictly to the rules of his cult.

During the post-play debriefing, I discovered that Maki had had significantly fewer advances than the other two. One reason for that is that he doesn’t write summaries of the session. But another is the fact that Maki’s player is used to talking his way through roleplaying instead of rolling dice. Apparently, I haven’t been good enough at demanding rolls from him – also because the first two sessions provided more opportunities for diplomacy for him, so he wriggled his way around rolling the dice. Hopefully, that will change from now on as his play becomes a bit more martial.

Anyway, here’s the summary. I think I’ll write some love letters for next session; they will probably come up together with the next summary.

Summary of the fourth session

Spider, Maki and Smith are looking at the wreckage of Maki’s hardhold, and the heads of the people that Maki left in charge. They go back to get the men, and on the way back they met Mill, the foreman of the sulphur mines, and Mill’s second in command, Harrow. Maki explains the situation when Mill complains about the delay of supplies to the mines, and they take Mill and Harrow back to the caves.
Maki asks Spider to feed the miners and Spider agrees, on the condition that the miners participate in his services. Mill refuses to participate in Spider’s cult sermons and prayers, but Spider refuses to capitulate. Maki and Mill get into an argument because of this, and Maki threatens Mill. Mill agrees to hole up in the mine for the time being.
Smith goes to keep a lookout for Ron on the side of the mountain. He will make a humming noise with his homemade hummer when he sees Ron coming so that the others have more time to prepare.
One of the new children in the cult gets into a fight with Trout, and Spider has to break it up. He sends the mother of the troublemaking child to some of the other cult women with an infusion, he gives her son a toy, and rewards Trout with a piece of fruit and a commendation.
While out scouting, Smith runs into the cult of the moon. They surround him and their leader, Desert Eagle, speaks to him. He lies and tells her that he dislikes the Sorrow cult and is trying to get away from them. He tells her that there is trouble in Harren Hold. She invites him to supper but he declines. She inquires about Herren Hold and he tells her something of the fight – he doesn’t tell her that Maki is dead but he tells her that Maki is down in town, being a part of the fight.
That evening Spider reaches into the world’s psychic maelstrom to influence the miners and convince them that it’s better to come to bear the indignities and suffer through his service than it is to go hungry.
While this is happening, more men in animal masks come to attack the cave. They’re not expecting a lot of resistance and are surprised by Maki’s superior guard. Maki goes to assist the fight and succeeds in driving them back, but Jakabaka gets shot and one of Spider’s cultists gets killed. They kill one of the opponents and find that he wears a moon necklace. Spider attempts to gather information by opening his brain to the psychic maelstrom. He sees a spider that goes up to a fly and sucks it dry, then begins to walk towards him, sprouting wings as it approaches.
Smith, on lookout, also opens his brain. He sees a dog in Harren Hold, holding another dog by the throat and tearing at its flesh. The dog looks confused and frightened once it has killed the other dog, however.
While Smith is opening his brain, Nemo sits down beside him, and they converse. Nemo draws parallels between Smith and himself, belittling Maki and Spider.
In the morning Maki goes to the sulphur mines with bread stolen from Spider’s stores. Mill tells Maki that he wants to go down to the cave after all, and they go down together with the miners.
Spider tries to find Ron, and senses that Ron is on his way with a large-ish gang. The gang is elated and cocksure.
Smith goes back into the maelstrom to find out more about Nemo. Instead, he finds hardholders dancing to a shadowy puppetmaster.
Spider sees Thrice carrying a box of food from his cult stores toward the back of the caves. He confronts her but she tries to go around him. He shoves her and takes the box of food, knocking Thrice to the ground and pulling her out of her reverie. Maki comes running and gets into an argument with Spider over Spider’s treatment of Thrice. On his lookout, Smith sees Spider cut the strings of the puppetmaster with a large knife and blood pours from the strings, leaving Thrice helpless on the ground. As he comes to, Smith sees a dust cloud growing on the horizon.

 

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