Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When In Scandinavia...

Velkommen en og alle!

That is to say, "Welcome one and all!"

Continuing to recap the first session of our group's newest campaign, Ars Magica: Something Rotten In Denmark...

After finding an herbalist willing to part with some of the rare herbs needed to make the medicine their aging and ill leader desperately needs, the PCs travel North of the port of Malmo in Sweden to uphold their end of the bargain. You see, this seller of very special plants was no normal old woman. She was a wise woman and a seer, though her talent is limited as a raven stole one of her eyes.


Marcus: "Hold up! A raven took your eye? When did this happen?"

Me (As the Old Woman): "Not sure exactly. A long time ago. I was my granddaughter's age now I'd say."

Marcus: "And you think it's still out there? It can be found? Haven't you ever heard of decay?"

Me (As the Old Woman): "No. Who's De Kay? Sounds like a Spaniard."

Ray: "Dude, this is Scandinavia in the Middle Ages of a Mythic Europe. If a Raven stole an Eye, I am pretty sure both are still out there."


The PCs had made a deal to find the eye and return it in exchange for the herbs.

So off they went, following the instructions to the letter...as best they could.

"Walk North until you reach the forest. Enter at the woods and continue North until you can see nothing but trees not matter which direction you look toward. Now listen for a silence. It would be a strange sort of silence, with no birds chirping, no animals moving, no soft crunch of leaves beneath your feet. Wait there a moment and you will hear the raven."

Marcus: "I think the ol' lady's crazy."

When the PCs did eventually come upon the right spot, they heard the raven but did not see it, as it was hidden deep in the evergreen trees in front of them. What they did see perplexed them. The tree in front of them...sagged. It was drooping as if something very large and heavy was sitting on its branches. The guys anticipated a giant raven would swoop out at any moment.

The raven soon showed it itself, a normal sized and average looking raven in everyway except that it did appear to weight a lot. A LOT. At one point it jumped from one tree branch to another to get closer to the PCs and nearly broke the new branch. He also only put the left side of his face toward the group.

The raven spoke, claiming the eye to be his and that's the way is it. When told it was unfair he responded quite firmly that life is unfair, that we take what we can and enjoy it as much as possible since life otherwise stinks and then you die.

The players tried to remember their Norse Mythology but all they could recall about ravens was that Odin has two, Huginn and Muninn ('Thought' and 'Memory'). After a little brainstorming they figured that the raven here in this adventure was suffering from 'heavy thoughts' and was perhaps burdened by guilt for all the items he had stolen over the years.

In an unexpected turn of events, Marcus, playing his 'House Flambeau Magus Master of Fire and Destruction!, talked the raven into giving up the eye since he was so weighted down with remorse and anger he couldn't even fly. It worked and Marcus further suggested the raven return the rest of his stolen goods in order to lift the burden off himself now and forever. The raven turned his head around to reveal his right side profile...and the missing eye, which him promptly gave over to the PCs.

As the triumphant heroes turned to leave, they were slowly surrounded by a pack of wolves. Marcus detected a Magus was near but the sense of it was fading. They would have to find out who sicked this pack of lupines on them later. Survival came first...

More Mike Mignola -
To me, all the beasts, monsters and faeries of Ars Magica should be done by Mignola
and all the people by Angus McBride

End of Session 1

Character write-ups and some after session thoughts up next.

Barking Alien


  1. Fire Mage and Counselor we see.

    You describe this resolution as "unexpected" - did you have a different idea on how this might go? In a typical D&D game I might expect Diplomacy > Intimidate > Roll Initiative as the likely chain of events but I don't know enough about Ars Magica (or your players) to project that.

  2. There was no intimidate involved. THAT would have been what I expected.

    Marcus is...an unusual player. OK, unusual compared to what I am used to. He comes off as the guy in AD&D who wants to play the Half-Orc Assassin. Always. Actually he did play one in a one-shot I did using my D&D-But-Not system.

    If his character can not hide, get you without you seeing him and than escape unharmed, he is usually not happy. He wants to be able to hurt things but doesn't enjoy getting hurt. It's a reasonable enough mindset. It can also be taken to extremes.

    It doesn't really matter what the genre is either. In our Champions game he played a psychokinetically powered Superman and he still avoided direction confrontations, attacked via ambush and was generally 'Batman' sneaky.

    Every once in a while however, he will surprise you. He will talk when he could clearly have attacked with an advantage. He will put aside his bloodthirst for Sherlock Holmes-like deduction.

    He will create a Fire Mage and a former Gladiator-turned-Manservant/Bodyguard/Assassin and use none of their quite formidable combat skills to defeat an enemy. Instead, Marcus will use his own intellect and offer the enemy a reasonable answer to their personal dilemma that simultaneously benefits him.

    Some play for the TPK or the look of horror on the players faces when there is a threat of TPK. I play for guys like Marcus being guys like Marcus having moments like that. Awesome.