Led by their Barbarian guide Tior Huldrasson, the party walked the Gloaming Roads and found themselves at the crumbling ruins of an ancient fortress deep in Dark Davokar. Tior called it ‘the bastion of Kal’Nohr’ and claimed it was here that the party would find the artifacts they were searching for.
The group advanced cautiously down the stone stairs and walked the path between the collapsed buildings. Dark as it was, one of their number noticed a pattern of strange, intricate symbols drawn in the dirt off to one side. A careful check revealed these drawings were made with black salt and they surrounded each of the buildings. The symbols seemed to change through the course of the pattern; arcane glyphs twisted into letters that morphed into numbers that formed beasts and astrological signs. It was difficult to determine where one ended and the other began.
It was Tior who finally gleaned some meaning from them. “They’re warding symbols. The oldest, most powerful kind. What I can’t tell is if they’re meant to keep something in, or something out. ”
“We didn’t come all they way here to sight see,” the Cleric of Prios said. “We need to search these buildings.”
Which was true, but the question was how to get past the wards without disturbing them?
One idea then and another was batted back and forth, finally the Ogre decided he would get a running start and jump over the salt barrier. He would check out the nearest building, a small one, and report back.
A Quickness test. At +1 no less. (He’s a big guy. Not like the warding pattern is tall or anything. And it’s maybe three feet wide.)
The Ogre backs up, jogs toward the ruins and just as he’s about to leap, catches his boot on a root and tumbles face first onto the ground, flailing and sliding through the dirt smearing a wide, messy path through the carefully laid, complex drawings.
The Ogre gets to his feet sheepishly, brushes dirt, salt, moss and twigs from his jerkin.”Sorry.”
The rest of the group stares, mouths gaping. Silence reigns for the space of maybe ten heat beats. And then a loud groan erupts from the forest around them.
There’s a rustle in the dense undergrowth and six, massive, Blighted dryads emerge. They are the guardians of Kal’Nohr’s Bastion.
A vulgar brawl ensued. Several party members were hit hard and came close to death. But the Ogre redeemed himself and took down a number of the Dryads on his own and got an assist on one more. The rest of the party accounted for the others, the Wizard’s ‘Brimstone Cascade’ spell coming in very handy here. Finally, the last of the creatures was felled.
At last, the party limped into the largest building at the end of the path and started searching.
Symbaroum is a great game; rich lore, evocative art, a dark and dangerous setting. Focused on storytelling, the combat scenes are easily shifted to the table top. It’s simple to pick up, deep enough to make mastery worthwhile and satisfying, and loaded with potential. If you play RPGs, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Large ZONA ALFA mission next week. Have a great weekend. (Get some painting done, will ya?)