Drinking & Dragons

RPM:22 Scorpion King

From Drinking and Dragons

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Starring: 🏹 Ehsan, 🐺 Ildefons, 🐘 One-Tusk, Renard
Guest Starring: Nabila Mahakala, Sabah Qarout, Takisha Mahakala, Mahakala’as’saroud (cut scene)
Challenge: Recon on the approaching army; Blowing up the Queen Haarith's Hand Bridge (over the Porcelain Valley) and fighting Dragonkin;
Location: Mahakala (City), Wurud Palace
Date Played: 21 Feb 2018

Recon on the Army

🎲 DM: The Army is being led by Zaahir el-Mahmoud, a dragonkin relation of the Mahakala's from the Mahmoud Province. This province is wealthy because of a rich ore deposit of a material widely believed by the Kirkush to aid in magical tasks. (This property of the ore is not convincingly verified.) The population of the Mahmoud Province is focused on working the mines, and as such many villages and towns can be found completely underground.

🐘 One-Tusk: Here I am, operating with a small squad against a superior force. I have the advantage in technology. It brings back memories, and not entirely good ones. But I know my craft- the line between logistics and warfare isn't a line at all. And logistics is where we can strike them. Along the route back to Mahakala, there is Queen Haarith's Hand, a narrow bridge over a long chasm. We make plans to destroy it, and I compel the Pride to take the risk and do so at the opportune time: when their forces are split on either side of the chasm. One, large, overpowering army is now split in two, and it will be some time before they can regroup. I'll be interested to see if the group on the Mahakala side tries to press the assault, or if they retreat. Either way, the… ugh… Royalist forces have a chance to counterattack. It's the most I can give them.

🐺 Ildefons: This army, it is strange to me. It is comprised largely of dragonkin forces, in large quantities, of identically kitted and in the same formation. There, like everything else in Kirkush, is little diversity. They have numbers, and discipline. But, one strategy to counter their forces, and they would likely crumble. The only diversity is that command appears to be riding in what Ehsan tell us are chariots, pulled by horses. I can see great utility to that, but such arms require open, unbroken fields. Unfortunately, that is something that Kirkush has in surplus. Remembering Ehsan's aunts demonstrations, I arm myself with a non-metallic weapon, a finely-crafted wooden spear, from a village we pass through.

After great deliberation, I am able to talk One Tusk out of harassing the army and its supply wagons. While that may have been helpful (especially for so large a force), it would have been suicidal. Instead, we find a choke point -- the Queen's Hand Bridge over the Porcelain Valley (so named for its fine clay quarries). We set upon ourselves to destroy this bridge, hopefully with the center of the army upon it, to split up the forces and delay them, take some of the main out, and possibly hurt morale as the van would be left to live off the land until they rejoin.

I calculate and highlight the weak points of the bridge while Ehsan scouts to get our timing. One-Tusk prepares bombs in a way I haven't seen him do since the war and sets them. Then we take our positions upon a hill with line of sight to the bridge. Renard pulls of a trick shot worthy of the annals and the bridge goes up -- and down. Mission successful.

And we are set upon a mounted segment of the van guard, some elite soldiers and mages of fire. During our rapid work of dispatching the foe, I am inkmarked. I use the last bit of one of the fire thrower's power to use, letting it wash over me and cleanse me of the damning indigo -- but leaving me rather burned. This isn't the first time I've needed to be cleansed by fire. After the fight, it takes me a while to get back "with it". Without much realizing it, I let another power wash over me. I had only theorized about this before, with Florint. But the urgency of the situation, I was able to use the den of some scorpions in the vicinity, and call upon them to lend me their form. I, to my companions fright, became a man-sized scorpion. I reportedly skewered through 4 of the skirmishers with one jab of "my" stinger while I sliced another in half with "my" pincers. I don't remember this. My mind seemed to have remained mine during this ordeal. I must contemplate the meaning of this. Apparently I can indeed open myself up to external influence so much that I take on traits of it. This is a form of shape shifting very rather different than that used by the Red Wolves, or the Sorcier.

🏹 Ehsan: First this assassination attempt and now an army marches upon the city...what in the world is my homeland coming too?! Honestly all of this is simply ridiculous! The size of this army is quite large and how our outriders have not made any reports of their movements is astounding to me. Maybe there is something deeper going on in the palace....regardless they must be dealt with.

We send the two royal guard members back to the city to inform them of the encroaching army while we decide to do a bit of reconnaissance. Our path eventually leads us to Haarith's Hand, a bridge built centuries ago to honor a long dead Dragon Queen. Disposing of the bridge is the quickest route to destabilizing their forces and we do so by some hasty bomb construction. It doesn't go over as smoothly as one could hope, but the job is done. It's disappointing to loose a cultural structure but bridges can be rebuilt. Better to destroy this bridge than see the razing of the capital.

Return to the City

🐺 IldefonsTalks with Takisha Mahakala and her Husband, Yasin Al Hatin Mahakala

I visit Takisha in her family's wing and we examine the painting she made. She is extraordinarily skilled and looking upon the canvas makes me vividly recall the vision again. We are able to piece together than the beat, and its great eye, are likely that of the Kirkush Dragon itself. This worries me. After much deliberation, I suggest that the lone figure is the queen consort, Takisha's mother, petitioning the dragon. This damns me. I am able to talk my way out of the corner, with much careful wording and many tears. But, Takisha vows to ask her mother of this, and Yasin asks that I avoid them during the rest of my stay.

🐘 One-Tusk Distributes Phamplets

🐘 One-Tusk: But that's not the most I can give the people of Mahakala.

The root conflict is one of succession. One noble faction wants to topple another, to claim the reigns of power and tighten their grip on the oppressed citizens of Mahakala. I can justify aiding the Royalist forces only because the approaching army would be even worse.

But it is the masses who suffer, the people upon whom this government has trod for too long. I take to the streets, plying my other set of skills: rabble rousing. While the titans spend their energies fighting each other, it is the people, the proletariat who suffer- but it is also the people who might find the opportunity to strike and overturn all of their enemies with one fell swoop.

Renard is Politely Captured by the Palace Guards

🏹 Ehsan Visits Her Mother, Gets Shot

🏹 Ehsan: [Honestly I feel like the title is fairly accurate to what happened, because there wasn't much beyond this besides Ehsan attacking her mother whilst getting shot. P.S. I lied, there was a bit more. There were guards in the room and Sabah ordered her arrest. Ehsan quickly moves to "remove" the guards but in the process, Sabah pulls out a gun on Ehsan. Sabah shoots, Ehsan is the one shot but she also disarms her mother and starts screaming.]