A Sundered World: Episode 102

  • Agron (level 2 scion psion)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 2 kobold pirate)
  • Sirus "Ironhide" (level 2 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 2 scion nomad)

One mostly intact cambion vessel, a handful of fearful, unresponsive slaves, and about ten rations worth of "questionable meat" later, the characters realized that even if they didn't have other mouths to feed, they still wouldn't have enough food to make it to Waive's home island of Spiral Harbor.

Waive directed them to a relatively nearby island that he had been to before. It had an irregular, pillar-like shape. The wider end was capped with a lush forest, and the rest was riddled with tunnels that were inhabited by dark elves: all they had to do was evade dark elf patrols and webbing snares, fight off giant bees, and they'd be able to stock up on honey.

Easy, right?

They anchored near the forest and drifted to the island. Waive checked the nearby spatial ripples, which indicated that a trio of dark elves mounted on giant spiders had passed through recently. They probably wouldn't return again anytime soon, but Katra spotted several web lines in the forest, so they decided to just drift over it and land when they spotted a hive.

Unfortunately the dark elves had anticipated this: tendrils of webbing reached well beyond the canopy. languidly swaying in the astral winds. There was enough space that, so long as they moved slowly, there were no sudden, strong gusts of wind, and no dark elves ambushed them from below, they should be fine.

Again, easy.

Luckily none of that happened, and they eventually came across a clearing with a lone, black tree. Attached near the base of its trunk was a pale, house-sized hive. It was much larger than Waive had expected. Aside from the whole honey bit, he wasn't particularly knowledgeable about them, but figured that the bigger the hive the more honey it hopefully contained.

When they drifted past the treeline, four dog-sized bees exited the hive and loudly buzzed towards them. Ironhide floated in front of everyone else, bellowing a loud battle cry as he went. This attracted the attention of all four, but they were far more maneuverable than he was: they scattered, zipped around and behind him, latched onto his back, and began stinging him.

Agron tried picking them off with precise lances of telekinetic force, but before he could muster enough psychic energy another group emerged from the hive. They flew towards Agron and Waive, and though both were more adept at flying than Ironhide, Waive only managed to cut a few down before the other two grasped onto both of his arms and stung him as well.

Katra again went to Ironhide's aid. She sliced a few of the bees apart, and with less enemies to worry about Ironhide was able to crush the other two. Meanwhile, Agron picked the other two off of Waive. With no more bees left, Waive drove his blade through space and carved a deep gash along the hive, and Agron followed by mentally gripping both sides and tearing it even wider.

It screeched.

They stood there as the "hive" wrenched itself free of the tree and began lumbering towards them, revealing itself to be in fact also a bee. Agron and Waive struck again, and were relieved that it was enough to slay the hulking beeast. Unfortunately their relief was short-lived as not only did another pair of bees emerge, they were much larger and featured many more sharp bits than the others.

One of them slammed into Waive. It pinned him to the ground and began frenziedly slashing at him. Ironhide charged, and before he collided with it Waive slipped away through space. While Ironhide fought the other one went after Katra, who was able to easily evade it whilst scampering about the corpse of the queen.

She got some distance and then whirled about to blast the soldier bee with her conducting rod. The shot punched a hole clean through it, but it was somehow still able to stand. It came at her in a staggered rush, and when it leaped at her she slid underneath it, slicing through its chest with her sword and killing it.

They loaded up all the honey, larva, and loot they could gather (there had apparently been several "unsuccessful attempts" at harvesting their honey), which given their current state would fortunately be more than sufficient for the rest of the trip. They returned to the ship and disembarked.

When they were about halfway to their destination—as determined by Waive's precise knowledge of distance—Katra spotted another vessel in the distance. As it approached she could hear the wail of its anima reactor, which meant that it was almost certainly a cambion vessel.

The ship veered towards them, and drifted to a halt before them as the anima reactor fell mercifully silent. A cambion, or possibly a full-on devil stepped forth and floated towards them. It was dressed in fine silks, which contrasted with its monstrous scaly flesh, curled horns, and many pairs of eyes. It stopped alongside Katra's ship, and there was a flash of blinding fire. When Katra's vision recovered she saw a massive, many-armed insect-like fiend looming above the first.

Katra could hear it speak, though its mouth didn't move. He asked who among them was the captain, and when she tentatively raised her hand it genially asked her how she had "acquired" the cambion vessel they were towing. Katra explained that a group of cambions attacked them soon after they had departed from Metacarpolis. The devil stated that it believed her, and offered to purchased it for a generous sum.

Against all reason she tried haggling, and to both her surprise and relief it agreed, paying her with a stack of platinum plates before vanishing in a flash of black fire. The insect-like fiend flew past them, detached the crippled vessel, and hauled it away as the other ship departed.

They arrived at Spiral Harbor without further incident. Countless pale spires of varied heights stretched from the rib bone of a dead god. A great cathedral was suspended "above" the wider end, partially shrouded by a golden cloud of mist. The rest of the city was in a constant state of motion as ships of numerous shapes and sizes arrived and departed, and angels, people, and smaller personal vessels flitted about between the buildings and walkways.

They docked the ship and made their way to the Sky Captain's Watch, a tavern that Waive had regularly frequented what he assumed was long ago. There they met Meg, a long since retired adventurer who had inspired Waive to risk his own life exploring the world. After explaining to her what happened, Waive told her that they were looking for a medic and work. Meg told him that she would put the word out, and to check in later.

Before he left she warned him that things were different now that angels had arrived and established their cathedral. She told him to be very careful what he says and does, and not to even attempt lying to them. Agron slipped into her mind and saw that she was terrified of them, but couldn't determine exactly why.

Behind the Scenes
I've been keeping a map of the islands they've visited. It's kind of convenient that Dungeon World measures distances in rations, as there aren't days or even consistent units of time in A Sundered World. Here's what they've discovered so far:

Though spiders are still a part of their culture, dark elves are pretty different from Dungeons & Dragons dark elves.

The typical drow warrior or hunter looks like any other elf, but as they prove themselves are "rewarded" by the Weaver with various mutations: extra arms, extra eyes, chitin-like growths on their flesh, venomous fangs, and so on (there's gonna be a whole compendium class). Being transformed into a drider is seen as a blessing, and dark elf matrons are heavily mutated, huge-sized driders.

Another way they differ is that they aren't all senselessly evil (or chaotic despite having lots of laws and societal structure). Some of them are xenophobic, while others are willing to interact and trade with outsiders. It just varies from hive to hive.

Adam pitched a possible way to somewhat track time (since again there's almost never any kind of regular, reliable environmental factor to go with): cycles. Basically it's the amount of time a mortal creature can reasonably be expected to remain awake before having to sleep (or maybe its the amount of time a creature needs to sleep?). Anywho, while certainly not exact it's something.

In my first A Sundered World campaign, I made a mental note of several possible directions it could go depending on the actions of the players. I've done a similar thing in this campaign, and they're very close to effectively "triggering" one of the fronts (though they might trigger two). All I'm going to say is that it's not going to be Antikythera's Legion.

I remember back when we were writing The Pirate, some people were opposed to the Pillage & Plunder move. It lets you increase a random treasure result by 1 (and if you find coins you get +1d8), but Melissa is glad we kept it since in actual play it's already paid off quite a bit to the tune of hundreds, maybe thousands of coins.

I mentioned last time that Chris wanted to make some additional moves for The Psion, and here's what he cooked up:

Mind Trickery
When you use your mental powers to baffle, misdirect, manipulate, implant false memories or emotions on another's mind, roll +INT. *On a 10+, the effect will last until proven false or the situation changes, and choose 2. *On a 7-9, the effect will last only for a few moments, and choose 1:

  • It does not take long to take effect.
  • You do not take -1 ongoing while maintaining this effect.
  • It is not immediately obvious that the target has been manipulated.

Mind Trick Mastery
Requires: Mind Trickery
When you use mind trickery, on a 12+ the effect will last forever and you choose all three. *On a 7+, choose an additional option.

I Can Read You Like a Book
When you search a person's memories for what they know about a subject, you can use spout lore as if you are them.

We're thinking of making mind trickery a starting move, and when you make a psion you'd choose two from it, telekinesis, and telepathy. In this case, the talent background would let you start with all three instead of slippery mind.

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