In the previous entry, I introduced the player characters in our new playtesting campaign: Wisse, Ena, Halred, and Lorin the Lame. In part 2 of this session’s log, the players arrive on Svarttand Island. And not all seems well...
Halwr’s Spear makes its way through the thick clouds of fog to the shores of Svarttand. The passengers huddle together on deck to try to stay warm (except for Ena, since his coat smells so horrible that no one wants to be near him). In the meanwhile, the crewmen do their best to navigate through the mist, going by the barely visible light of Svarttand’s small lighthouse and the single light that burns in the top floor of Svarttand’s keep.
Wisse, eager to assist Captain Halvhand in any way, offers his help. He gets assigned as lookout on the ship’s bow and peers into the mist. Nervous and jumpy, he thinks he sees a shoal where there is in fact nothing and calls the ship to a halt, winning the captain’s first frown.
This was your typical botched roll (see Core Rulebook, page 20): Wisse has Perception skill level 0, so when he rolled a 1 on his die, he botched it.
In the meanwhile, the others get a bit more closely acquainted with the other passengers on the ship. There are three wounded crewmembers, but there is also Gwensk, a gray-haired skølle trader who has a shipment of hides; Jarda, a skølle merchant who deals in iron; and Erskin, a middle-aged ulder who occasionally shares his jug of strong liquor with the others and guards the merchants.
Finally, the ship wrests itself free of the fog bank: Svarttand’s harbor looms into sight. The players get a good view of the island’s south side and see that Svarttand village consists of two parts: the waterfront and the docks, such as they are, cradle the mountain’s base; the other part of the village lies higher up the mountain and closer to the keep. There is a ruined lookout tower at the very top of the mountain, and there are two manors in the village, one ruined and built on the higher slopes, the other intact and a stone’s throw from the waterfront.
I’ve copied in a small map of Svarttand village below.
A tall and strong man waits for Halwr’s Spear by the docks. Without a word, he guides the ship in and ties it to the jetty. Captain Halvhand immediately begins to question him, but only Lorin can make out what the two men are saying.
Languages of Verden
Verden has a number of languages, based on Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Estonian, Finnish, Danish, and Irish Gaelic. All characters speak one or two languages based on their sub-race, and that’s that. If they want to speak more languages, they have to acquire the Schooling power (see Core Rulebook, page 116). Only Lorin’s player went through the trouble of actually learning the local language. He interprets for the rest (or not, depending on his mood).
The local goes by the name Ennvild Fergussonn, but he volunteers little further information. He tells Captain Halvhand that there are no taverns on Svarttand, but that the captain and his men are free to take up temporary residence in one of the island’s many empty buildings. He’ll have his wife drop by some supplies. As for the damaged sail, a ship comes in from the mainland every few weeks; it usually carries supplies such as canvas to repair sail.
At the captain’s order, Lorin and Wisse explore the waterfront and quickly find a large, stone house that will do for now (despite a door that is prone to get stuck). In the streaming rain, the passengers and crewmen of Halwr’s Spear unload the ship’s cargo and settle down for the night, none too happy about their current plight.
During the night, Lorin wakes when he hears scratching at the door. He rises with help of his cane and hobbles to the door to investigate. But the scratching stops the very moment he is within arm’s reach. However, the shutters on a window on the other side of the room start clattering as if from the wind, rousing Wisse from his troubled dreams.
Wisse, in a panic reaction, casts a Shift spell (Core Rulebook, page 184) to teleport outside, somewhere in the alleyway between this building and the next. As he turns to survey his surroundings, a face appears in the mist; it is a woman’s face, and it dissipates as quickly as it appeared when Wisse looks upon it. He is terrified and makes his way indoors as quick as he can.
In the meanwhile, Lorin (who is not surprised by his comrade’s sudden spellcasting; he has a few tricks of his own) bolts down the clattering shutters. When Wisse tells him he saw a face in the mist, Lorin is dismissive: ‘maybe it was a ghost,’ he says. They try to get some rest, although it takes them both a while before they manage to fall asleep after this strange disturbance.