Thursday, August 14, 2014

Return to Mar Tesaro: City Folk (Part 2)

In the last installment, Traster, Ronan, and Zeus found some ways to keep themselves occupied in the city, meeting interesting people in the process. While they were busying themselves with trading useless treasures for useful gear, Glabrous and Hawk opt to tackle some errands of their own.
Plus, these places never have amulets in your size.
The Temple of Avandra
The city of Sar Diga is home to the chief temple of Avandra in Mar Tesaro. Glabrous announces his intention to visit the place, in particular to have an opportunity to convince its leader to support the Brotherhood in its mission. Marcus politely declines, wandering off to explore the city; being a druid, most temples make him uncomfortable.

(See the rest below the fold.)

Avandra being the goddess of travel and trade, her temples favor functionality over form, often used as open-air markets or way stations for weary travelers. The temple in Sar Diga is much more like a warehouse, storing the various supplies needed to sent its priests out to tend to points of rest on the roads between cities.

Glabrous arrives to see the temple in absolute chaos: Priests and acolytes scurry every which way, loading crates into wagons, gathering up reagents and materials for various rituals. Stepping around as much of the bustle as he can, and going through the rest, Glabrous eventually finds Zanian Hollysword, Hospitaller of Avandra. The two share a friendly greeting, although Hollysword is obviously preoccupied. As it turns out, all this activity is in preparation for the upcoming Harvest Festival in Fol Thron; it's the privilege of Avandra's faithful to see to the safe passage of Mar Tesaro's inhabitants to and from the festival, and the traffic on the roads stands to be incredible.
Much as I'd like to write out dialog for the places where my notes or memory are sufficient to fill it out, this series would quickly balloon out of control. The point is to tell the story while commenting on the various quirks of running the game. R.A. Salvatore, I am not.
Glabrous wastes no time in getting to his purpose: Will the temple of Avandra throw their support to rebellion? Hollysword is not quite appalled at Glabrous. Does he not remember the horror of civil war that plagued this land before? Why should the temples be a part of such madness? And what happens when the Queen is overthrown? Does Glabrous intend to be the new dwarven king?
" . . . Maybe."
Glabrous pleads his case to the best of his ability, but Hollysword remains skeptical. However, as the Council would be gathering in Fol Thron for the Harvest Festival, perhaps Glabrous should plead his case before the full council. He agrees to at least consider the arguments Glabrous has offered.

Before Glabrous departs, the Hospitaller offers for Glabrous to present an offering at the altar of Avandra, as her blessing would be welcome for Glabrous and his companions in their coming travels. He agrees, and settles down in front of the altar at the front of the temple, burning incense and going through the motions of the ritual offering. As he does so, Glabrous's mind seems to fade from the temple, a vision passing before him.
This is going to happen throughout the game. The gods are attempting to communicate something to Glabrous. Why him? Why these visions? Partial answers to that will unfold slowly. 
It's a double-sided tool, of course. On the one hand, I can slowly feed hints of the "true" story to the players. These details can be as vague or specific as I want them to be, and they happen on my schedule. On the other hand, they're sort of a lazy narrative tool. Why bother with having the players learn such matters by actually experiencing them, when they can be foisted upon them like a bad VHS tape? Are the players interested in that particular plot point? Do they understand its significance? Well, they'd better get interested, and their understanding of it doesn't matter at all.
In the vision, Glabrous sees his brother, Deragor the Earthsworn (formerly Deragor Silverbeard) in a struggle with the Queen, atop the highest peak of Mount Khelberg. As they struggle, the ground begins to collapse beneath their feet, until finally they fall into darkness, a darkness which spreads across the entire mountain.
Always a sign of good things to come.
Glabrous awakens, dazed, confused, and very concerned about the future.

No comments: