Session/Game: Conan #3 Date: 4/18/04
Episode 3, "Cold Blood"
The party followed the eastern edge of the mountains north toward Hyperborea. They then made their way through the southern pass through the barren foothills of Hyperborea’s southeastern border.
What had happened to put them in that situation was that they had met a large column of Hyrkanian, Hyperborean and Turanian raiders, fleeing from Hyperborea out through the same pass the adventurers were attempting to enter. The party thought the raiders to be fewer than they were and so charged. The raiders, put off by the charge, thought the adventurers to be a much larger band of kozaks, and so they left one squad behind as a rear guard and they fled back into Hyperborea. The raiders had wounded all the adventurers, killed their mounts and slaves before the adventurers and the 12-raider squad came to grips.
Grimjob scouted ahead into the pass. He discovered the remains of 20 Hyperborean soldiers, the guardians of the pass, all slain by the raiders. One still lived and croaked out “I am Fritz…the Bloodstone of Bori” before he died. After Grimjob returned to the party, they moved quickly through the pass. Lord Valanus had caught two of the raider’s horses. He claimed one and Grodd and Conrad wrestled for the other, Grodd finally yielded the horse to Conrad. At nightfall, they arrived at the border town of Marchburg. They checked into Lucky Frank’s Inn and Lord Valanus received a complimentary crabapple pie. Grimjob, who spoke no Hyperborean, was somehow quite taken with the Hyperborean word for crabapple, and practiced it over and over. They summoned Otto One-Eye, the local healer to help their injured men. Otto did what he could to patch up Limberger, who regained consciousness, and Castel, who did not. Vegeta took a strong dislike for Otto, for some unknown reason, and pushed him down the stairs. Otto looked up at him and said, “I was going to put a curse on you, but I can see that your doom is already written, so I won’t bother.” Otto departed in a huff. Conrad and Grodd sell off some of the loot stripped from the bodies of the raiders.
Day 2, Marchburg, Hyperborea
Day 3, Marchburg, Hyperborea
Day 4, Marchburg and Castle Death Sword, Hyperborea
In the evening, they all gather at Lucky Frank’s to discuss what they’ve learned. But, in burst a party of Hyperborean soldiers from House Steiner. They are led by a man named Helmut the White, who claims that the party are members of the raider band, which have just killed Helmut’s brother Fritz, who worked for House Hothur. Lord Valanus almost convinced Helmut to back down, until Helmut demands that he hand over the Shemite and Turanian Dogs (meaning Grimjob and Limberger). Valanus has had enough and battle is joined. The Hyperboreans go down quickly, but Vegeta has some problem when he sees a large spider bite his right hand, causing him pain to use it. After the soldiers are slain, Lucky Frank tells Lord Valanus that he and his bunch would be wise to leave town since they’ve just killed Thane Wulfing Steiner’s men and he will try to take bloody revenge at his first opportunity.
The party then splits up, agreeing to meet at Castle Death Sword, where Steiner’s rival, Thane Heinrich Hothur holds court. Conrad and Valanus ride out of town on their horses, but the rest of the band have none. Grimjob manages to buy a broken down nag for 60sp. Grodd threatens a stableman, who lets him ride off with another. Castel and Vegeta both kill other stablemen and steal a horse apiece. Limberger convinces another stableman that he needs to borrow a horse “to warn Thane Steiner” and rides off with it. The party safely flees to Castle Death Sword.
On the road Vegeta is complaining loudly that Otto the Healer must have cursed him, which caused the back bites and the bite of the spider on his hand. Then one of his friends piped up “didn’t you desecrate the statue of a Spider God?” Another one said “Didn’t you brutally stab the Spider God’s priest?” And a third added “Didn’t you burn down the Spider God’s shrine in Stencovar.” Vegeta realized then that he has a lot of spiders in his future.
At the Castle, they meet Thane Heinrich of House Hothur who entertains Lord Valanus personally, and dismisses the rest (the lackeys, as he calls them) to a hearty supper of Chicken Pot Pie (which for some reason Grimjob now thinks is a delicious dish called “lackey”). Heinrich is a cultured dandy, who seems out of place in grim Hyperborea. He complains that the king “doesn’t know the facts” and is forcing him to split the tribute from Marchburg with “that ignorant half-Aesir Thane Wulfing.” He impresses upon Valanus that Wulfing must be behind the raiders, since they must be coming through the pass during Wulfing’s shift. No one goes through the northern pass of course; fire won’t burn there, no fire at all. Valanus meets Heinrich’s daughter, Olga, but fails to impress her with his sonnets. She seems distracted and retires. Valanus discusses the last words of the soldier Fritz, who mentioned the bloodstone of Bori. Heinrich says that is an ancient heirloom of his house which dates back to the foundation of the kingdom, but it is safely in the castle vault. Valanus asks to see it, and Heinrich says he will have the vault opened in 2 days for some business and can show it to him then.
Later, Castel also meets Olga. In private, she tells him that she gave a prized heirloom of their house, the bloodstone of Bori, to her secret lover, a soldier named Fritz. Since Fritz is dead, and the bloodstone lost, she is in great fear. She had heard that the stone made its bearer invincible in battle, but this must not have been the case. She begs Castel that the party take any job offer her father makes and that she be allowed to come with them to help recover the stone before her father discovers the truth.
Meanwhile, the rest of the band eat pie and drink beer. They grow a bit itchy and so Valanus asks Heinrich if they might have some female company. He agrees to let them “paw the washerwomen” and lends Grimjob a book.
Day 5, Castle Death Sword, Hyperborea
Day 6, Castle Death Sword, Hyperborea
Out in the wilds, Vegeta, Grodd and Limberger start to follow the raiders’ tracks in the snow. Soon it is abundantly obvious to Vegeta and Grodd that Limberger has absolutely no idea what he is doing. It is soon discovered that Limberger, who had claimed to be a Turanian borderer, is in fact a Zamoran thief. Grodd is not very happy with the deception. In the night he jumps Limberger, binds and beats him. Limberger escapes and they argue.
Day 7, The Wilds of Ostmark, Hyperborea
Day 8, The pass where fire won’t burn, no fire at all
For, you see, the creatures they fought, once their bodies were examined in the light of day, proved to be men. But men so corrupted and twisted by life underground that they had become hairless and their skins were mottled like snakes. Fangs they had developed, and their arms were strong from tunneling but small and close to their bodies.
Perhaps a scholar might know what race they were or how long they lived there, but our heroes cared not. Just so they might flee the untold multitude of their fellows who stalked the pass at night. For that was the raiders’ secret. They were not in league with either noble house, but had learned to ride through the northern pass while the sun yet shone, for the evil creatures below only emerge at night. Their last raid was disrupted by the heroes in the southern pass and the raiders dared the northern pass at night and were destroyed.