What a setup

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The game began as the PCs (level 1, half of them never played rpg before) regained consciousness tied up in the glacier to the sound of a prisoner’s throat being slit noisily, as a goblin waved a page in his face. It turned out the goblins were trying to find a literate prisoner among the group and were using this page as a test. Anyone who failed to convincingly read it got their throat cut. Why were they doing this? Because deep inside the glacier the goblin tribe had recently uncovered an ice-encrusted ancient warrior skeleton holding some wicked magic sword, but they couldn’t get to him unless they spent hours hacking away at it. That’s no good! They don’t have that kind of time! Luckily, a clever usurper goblin released a bunch of the shipwrecked prisoners out onto the ice, and the Norse berserkers went off to chase them down and slaughter them on their dogsleds. This gave them to chance to break into the Norseman’s private stash, grab his saved up “Magic Flame Scroll”, and use it to melt the ice, retrieve the magic sword, and seize power! The only problem is, that none of the goblins can read. Thus we need a literate PC. This was really all a way for me to introduce the main plot of the game, in that buried in the hold of the ship were hundreds of “Wanted” posters describing a young woman who has been “kidnapped”. These were the pages the goblins were using as a Reading-Test. In reality she was not just any young woman, but the grandaughter of the Kaiser, who is due at her own royal wedding to the (gouty old) Duke of Grunwald in 5 months time. The problem is that she wasn’t kidnapped – she is pregnant by her foppish courtier, and they have traveled to the Devoured Lands to abort it before the wedding collapses and causes a war. She is of course now wanted by the PCs, random bounty hunters (the reward!), the Kaiser (my reputation!), the Duke (the royal marriage alliance!), the Pope (embarrass the political head of the Empire and gain power!), some Witches (a ritual!) and the Witchunters (the princess is clearly a witch!). Finding out the ins and outs of all of this took quite a few sessions and player deaths, but finally they have entered the Devoured Lands to find her at level 4-6 for most of them.

Play Report: Frostbitten and Mutilated