The Adventure Begins (RQ3E)

This is the first in a series of blog posts about the misadventures the BGSC’s first Roleplaying Group have undertaken. The rules system behind these stories is RuneQuest 43rd Edition and the setting is the world of Glorantha where Trolls and duck-people (think Donal Duck) count more regularly among the people than Elves or Dwarves. Be prepared to laugh and cry as we recount these adventures.

The small cart trundled across the plain. It had been weeks since it had left the Lunar Heartlands carrying its unusual mix of occupants. Holding the reins was Verrater Bealdor, a Lunar diplomat. He shifted uncomfortably, glancing at the companion beside him. The troll, Grogar the Hungry, was a bit of a wild card. He had been added to the group by the Red Emperor at the last minute, and while Verrater was happy to have a heavy hitter accompanying them on this likely suicidal mission, there was something about the beast that made him feel uncomfortable.

Stern Silverbeard, the Carmanian sorcerer who had discovered the information that was leading them on this journey, sat in the cart. He too was an enigma. Verrater tried to maintain a severe expression as the young magician glanced at him. Those eyes…

The remaining companions he was more comfortable with. Scrooge McDuck’s diminutive form promised no threat, and the Pavic thief Calvin was similarly known.

As the sun began to lower from its midday peak, the cart trundled into Horn’s Gate. Verrater glanced around nervously. The animal nomads would not be pleased to see a Lunar envoy passing through. He looked around for his contact amongst the Sable Riders.

“This is a sorry company you have brought forth,” came a proud, deep voice. Samuar Moonrider trotted forward astride his Sable, clutching his scimitar with pride.

“Well… I guess,” was the best Verrater could come up with as a response. His diplomatic skills were a bit rusty it seemed.

Grogar let them talk without paying them much mind. He just caught the name of their Sable Rider guide – a young woman named Uzume – before he started to look around. He was hungry.

“You may wish to visit the Chalana Arroy healers before leaving,” Samuar smirked as he turned away from the group. “We wouldn’t want you to die too quickly.”

Verrater thought that sounded like a good idea and waved his companions to follow him. He frowned. There seemed to be something… missing.

The group were startled by an angry shout. They turned to see Grogar munching cheerfully on a llama. At a carefully considered distance, its rider fumed. Verrater reached for his weapon, but the llama rider turned and stalked away.

“Grogar,” Verrater muttered. “Please don’t eat anything without my permission.” Uzume rolled her eyes. This was not quite the band of adventurers she had been expecting.

As they made their way toward the healers, the group heard a noise from behind them. Turning, they saw a troop of High Llama riders marching toward them. One came forward.

“I demand recompense. This… creature has done the unthinkable.”

Everyone turned to Grogar, who gave a satisfied burp. Thinking quickly, Verrater stepped forward.

“As a representative of the Empire, I can assure you that a fair price can be offered–”

“It will take more than your coin to repay this debt,” the Llama Rider spat.

“Well… what do you want then?”

The Rider seemed to consider for a moment. “Her kind—” he nodded toward Uzume “—have encroached upon our hunting grounds. You have influence over them. Use it to return what is rightfully ours, and you may consider your debt repaid.”

“Great. I’ll have a chat with the Sable Ri—”

“And leave us that one,” the Llama Rider continued, nodding toward Calvin. “To be certain you do not back out on your word.”

Calvin was grabbed by a contingent of Riders and taken back to their camp. Scratching his head, Verrater muttered, “Well, let’s see these healers then.”

The Chalana Arroy camp was in disarray. Their leader, Selanda Fleshweaver, was deeply concerned about one of her healers, who had been taken by a gang of Sable Riders angry that the healers were giving aid to a Bison Rider gang they had fought with. Verrater and the group promised to help out.

Scrooge McDuck decided to have a browse amongst the traders. “I wonder if any of these guys have weapons to sell,” he wondered aloud.

“You bet I do,” came a swift response from behind him, and he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder. “Only Issaries himself would have finer wares than I! And, my small friend, I even sell to ducks like yourself! It’s your lucky day!”

Unfortunately, when Scrooge heard the prices, he realised his day was not so lucky.

Intending to kill two birds with one stone, the group returned to Samuar to ask about the kidnapped healer and the Llama riders. Samuar directed them to Joshfar, the gang’s young leader, who responded enthusiastically to the idea of helping them with their Llama Rider problem.

“I’ll tell them we’ll give them the hunting ground back,” he enthused, “and then we’ll kill them all when they get there! It’ll be great.”

After a tense negotiation got them Calvin back and laid the groundwork for serious regional instability in the future, Joshfar directed them to Tallik Windrider, who held the healer. Verrater delegated responsibility for negotiating her return to Uzume, who rode up to the gang.

Tallik’s mob seemed nervous, and it didn’t take much before they released Celeste (the healer) unharmed. As a reward, Selanda gave the group a stone with a single Regrow Limb spell and the promise of a single free resurrection should they be in the area.

After some shopping, the group slept. They left early the next morning, heading west toward the Eiritha Hills, where they would find their destination: a place called Dragon’s Throat. They reached the hills at sundown and set up camp. During the night, Grogar noticed another camp set up some distance. That camp packed up and rode into the hills early.

It was a tense morning as the group headed into the hills, expecting an attack at any moment. They became more concerned when they saw figures spaced strategically out along the high ground, keeping watch.

They jumped when they heard a deep voice behind them: “I wonder what an important dignitary would be doing all the way out here accompanied by such unusual companions.” A smirking, powerfully-built Bison Rider towered over them. “There’s no need to waste my energy killing you,” he continued. “You lot won’t last long out here anyway.”

Shaken, the group continued on, watchful. Though the Bison Riders continued to watch them, they made no further moves.

Eventually they came upon Dragon’s Throat, a great tunnel that stuck out perilously from the cliffside ten metres above them. The only way to enter the tunnel, the group decided, was to climb up on top, balance along to the entrance, and drop in.

With Scrooge going first, followed by Verrater, Calvin, Stern, Uzume, and finally Grogar, the conga line tiptoed carefully across. Their care was wasted when a shudder rolled through the outcrop. They all held their balance except for Grogar, who tumbled painfully to the ground ten metres below.

He may have been the lucky one, however, as an enormous black bird-like creature burst from the entrance to the tunnel and perched at the end of the outcrop, glaring down at the small party before it.

TO BE CONTINUED

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