Norkol Campaign – First Session Recap

Last night, I ran the first gaming session on the island of Vitas. I’m using the game as inspiration and to help me build a detailed, hopefully interesting fantasy world, and if the first session is any indication, that was a smart move. Having others play characters in the world naturally conjures up questions and details that I would have never thought of on my own.

The adventure we’re playing is set in a small village built around an old abbey, sitting atop a hill from which an underground river springs; Chillriver. It’s early fall, harvest is over, the big markets are winding down as people prepare for winter. I will be sharing the adventure in a downloadable version, once we’re done playing it.

The characters, Johann Horsemaster (trainer of horses) and Orville Grimm (tracker), were asked to deliver a small shipment of cloth and salt to the monks of Chillriver Abbey, and return with a few barrels of their fine ale. They were given plenty of time and promised a reasonable payment, and since both men needed gold to survive winter, they took the job.

The story took a twist when shortly before arriving in Chillriver, they encountered a boy around the age of 12, looking pale and sick. They stopped to help, only to find that the boy was mad, incapable of speech – and tried to bite and stab poor Orville. They ended up pacifying the sick boy and taking him along, hoping the monks could shed some light on his condition.

Upon arrival in the village, they found it shuttered up and closed down, even the monks had closed their gates. Only after tying the mad boy to a nearby tree and proving that neither had been bitten, were Orville and Johann allowed inside the abbey walls.

The monks eventually explained that this mysterious malaise hit their area a few days prior, infecting a large number of villagers. Some were killed, others were rounded up and isolated. Abbot Greystone and potion maker, Brother Halthor, said they had studied the stricken, both dead and alive, and they believed a cure could be made. To concoct it, quite a few herbs were needed from the nearby forest, and though Halthor would normally go find these himself, the abbot would not allow it given the circumstances. Reluctantly, Johann and Orville agreed to help.

Finding the needed ingredients proved harder than expected, though they did discover a small shack in a hidden clearing. Upon further investigation, they found a primitive altar inside, with a dead baby goat on top, and next to it a small leather journal…

That’s more or less where we left off. It was very much about setting the scene and introducing the world to the players. They could have chosen to kill the sick boy, but saving him ended up adding to their sense of commitment, and it added a nice touch that as a couple of normal travelers (as opposed to battlehardened soldiers, for instance), they tried to do the right thing instead of taking the easy way.

They did encounter a crazed elk out in the forest, the only actual combat encounter, which began and ended with one well placed arrow. This was definitely not a meat grinder session, but it was a lot of fun.

Huge thanks to Lee and Nick who took on the parts of Orville and Johann, and helped Norkol, Vitas and Chillriver come alive.

Welcome to the Island of Vitas

Next week I run the first session in my new fantasy roleplaying campaign (still to be named). It takes place in the same world as my recent short story – The Final Prophecy of Jalahar, currently in editing. The events in the game unfold a few years after those depicted in the story. This would make a lot more sense if you knew either story, I know, but I can’t reveal those just yet.

What I can reveal is some of the background information; my notes, essentially. This is basic stuff, outlining the geographic area and hinting at both political structures, trade and so forth. There’s even a crude map! Norkol is inspired by a mix of early Nordic middle ages and dark fantasy. You won’t find jolly gnomes or aloof elves here, but a goblin might steal your firstborn in the night.

I will be sharing the progress of the game, once we get underway. In the meantime, here are some notes on Norkol and the island of Vitas. Continue reading “Welcome to the Island of Vitas”