We find ourselves on a road across a dusty, arid plain. The road is known as the Wandering Walk, a wilderness/pilgrimage trail that crosses the Beyond. It is speculated that the trail circumnavigates the world, but it is unknown. Pilgrims who travel along this trail are known as peregrines and it’s considered a point of pride to demonstrate how long you’ve been on the trail. Peregrines demonstrate how long they’ve been on the trail by carving a long scar into their arm known as the Blood Scar.
We’ve all stopped for the night at a rest stop. Who are you? What are you? Why have you come here?
Tommy: Battered shield
Peregrin: Cairn – a wiry and thin man, long shaggy dirty blonde hair, long unkempt beard, worn light armor, hefty backpack, quarterstaff
Tom: Mesmer – Warrior’s build, chain mail, greatsword, flashy bright clothes, tall and broad-shouldered
Daniel C.: Kaladin – tan, dark hair, dark brown eyes, lots of scars, late teens/early twenties, cynical/mature, spear and shield, leather armor
Daniel Z.: ?
We find ourselves at a small group of hovels known as The Mouth Cairns. The Mouth Cairns sit in the leeward side of a large metal structure. The hovels are made of the jawbones of peregrines. Local legend has it that you must make a pledge of good intent to prevent The Mouth Cairns from swallowing you up. Rumor has it that people have been disappearing at night.
About a half-dozen travelers sit near the hovels around campfires and glowglobes. The conversation turns to the recent rumors of disappearances which makes the travelers nervous. Some believe it is not The Mouth Cairns, but something else that
In the morning, to their surprise, the travelers realize no one is missing. The animated travelers go about their day, but soon they hear what sound like the hoofbeats of an army arriving. Soon they see an insect, a scutimorph (12 feet long), running across the plain with two people riding on its back—one small and one large. This is considered odd as nobody rides a scutimorph. Soon enough the riders arrive at The Mouth Cairns. The larger rider is a seriously but not mortally wounded young man. The smaller rider is a young, concerned girl. Neither of them seem like peregrines nor do they seem like they’ve been in the plains long. Tommy seems to realize that the scutimorph seems to be controlled by the young girl.
The young man, Patel, says that he rides from the north. He says he needs to go back to defend his family. And he needs somebody to escort his sister, Seria, half a day to the south.
Ano: Who attacked you?! What’s wrong?
Patel: These creatures attacked our village!
Tommy: Allow me to heal your wounds and come back to your village.
Patel: There’s not much time…
Peregrin: It won’t help your family to make your wounds worse.
Tommy: It won’t take but a moment.
Tommy walks up to Patel. Tommy closes his eyes in meditation and the two are surrounded by a small glow. Patel pulls his hand away from his side. A clot seems to have formed and his wound has sealed. The crowd whispers astonishedly.
Patel: Th-thank you! If you’ll come back … thank you! I’m sure others need help as well! But somebody still needs to help my sister!
Seria (anxiously): No-, I think- I think you should come back with us! You can help our family
Tommy lays his hands on Seria in an attempt to heal her. He hears a guttural but lyrical animalistic language. He feels vaguely connected to her which distracts and unnerves him to the point of preventing him from healing her (GM intrusion, +2 exp, 1 distributed to Cairn, the other to Jesus). Tommy focuses in an attempt to ignore the distraction. She takes a deep breath.
Seria (sedately): Thank you. You really must go with my brother.
Mesmer: I will accompany Patel northward.
Ano: Kaladin, what do you want to do?
Kaladin: I think we should take the girl south.
Cairn: No, this is a mistake. An unknown force and unknown power should be met by the most powerful among us. You (points to the augmented-eye mother peregrine), take the girl south!
Woman: Alright, a visit to the basin is always nice. My son and I can go.
Kaladin: Very well.
The woman and boy cautiously board the scutimorph. Seria gives a concerned look to her brother.
Seria: Be safe, brother
Seria rides off
Kaladin: Oh shit, maybe we should’ve taken the scutimorph with us…
Patel: Seria is the only one who can tame the scutimorph. She’s a little strange that way, but I think it’s a blessing.
The adventurers being walking north. The sun passes overhead. A forest seems to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the plains. As the forest enters vision, Jesus begins to feel uneasy and hear an odd thrumming in his head. As we approach, this feeling of unease starts to dissipate, and the adventurers realize this is in fact The False Forest, with slate-colored hollow 20 ft tall cylinders floating ~2 ft off the ground. A green synthetic mesh forms the canopy of the forest. After the first few rows, the adventurers realize they are not alone. There are many scutimorphs coiled around the trunks of these “trees”.
Kaladin: How far are we from your village?
Patel: Near the heart of the forest. Not far from here.
Kaladin: Are we in danger from them?
Patel: Oh no no, as long as you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.
K: When did they attack?
P: In the morning. At dawn.
K: Dawn? How much light was there?
P: They were hard to see like wisps even in the light
K: How did people die?
P: I didn’t see.
M: How did you get that wound?
P: They cut me, it was sharp.
K: Jesus, how deep was the cut?
J: It was a cut all the way to the ribs.
K: How did you know others were attacked?
P: My father told me to grab Seria and run.
C (shouting): Cease this ridiculous questioning. Either go investigate or abandon this boy to his fate. We’ve come this far, we might as well go further.
The shouting echoes through the forest. As the echo dies down, a wild scutimorph has appeared! It winds its way down the tree and rears back hissing with mandibles wide. It’s angry at all of us.
Cairn knows that scutimorphs have no natural predators.
Mesmer draws his sword and moves to Bash the creature. The sword clangs off the creature’s carapace uselessly.
Kaladin’s spear begins to crackle with electricity and moves to Bash the creature with his spear. His spear bounces off harmlessly as well.
Jesus decides to Scan the monster. He senses that this creature is a scutimorph and he again hears the buzzing in his head. He can tell the scutimorph is angry but confused. He detects that absent special modifications, it’s a level 3 monster (typically has 9 health)
Ano draws her sword and strikes the monster. Despite successfully hitting the monster, it slips across the grooves of the carapace and fails to injure the creature.
Cairn tries to distract the creature by throwing a rock.
The scutimorph bares its mandibles and strikes at Ano who dodges nimbly out of the way of the attack.
Patel attempts to distract the creature by stabbing at its tail from behind
Mesmer thrusts his greatsword at the beast, barely piercing its armor (dealing 7 damage before armor). The tip of Mesmer’s sword is covered in ichor.
Kaladin pulls a syringe from his bag and injects himself (The difficulty of attacks are reduced by 3 steps). Kaladin begins moving with unnatural grace and Thrusts his spear directly between two plates of carapace (dealing 9 damage before armor). The spear sinks deeply into the beast and it hisses in rage.
Jesus circles the beast and attempts to mount the beast. Despite stumbling, Jesus climbs aboard the beast’s back. Using a similar technique to what he observed Seria do, Jesus attempts to calm the beast, which fails miserably but he is thrown off.
Ano circles around the beast as well to protect the distracting Patel.
Cairn mounts a ruby on his quarterstaff and swings his quarterstaff at the beast. The beast dodges away striking the ground and leaving a small divot.
The distracted scutimorph lunges at Kaladin. Kaladin jumps to the side, dodging the attack.
Patel keeps poking its tail to distract it.
Mesmer: I guess I’ll keep thrusting.
Mesmer’s thrust is deflected again by the scutimorph.
Still feeling powerful, Kaladin thrusts his spear at the scutimorph’s lower abdomen. As the scutimorph reels back, it chitters and turns back, knocking Kaladin of his feet and skittering up a tree.
The thrumming in Jesus’s mind calms. The other scutimorphs chitter but remain still. Kaladin no longer feels as powerful.
The adventurers move forward into a clearing that appear to hold the remains of a small village. There are three triangular buildings that contain some kind of living substance that appear to be made of the same material of the canopy. There used to be 12 buildings. There are a number of humans rebuilding, stooped in fear, exhaustion, and sadness. When they see you, they reach for their weapons.
Ano notices that the people are looking above us not actually at us. She looks up and sees an unusual reflective glints in the sky descending on the clearing. A half-dozen of these circular creatures float down like jellyfish into the clearing. As it nears one of the villagers, it spins rapidly and flies at a villager. He fends it off but is left with a long gash in his arm.