I tried something new today. Actually I tried several new things; NPC face cards, item cards, putting on a Welsh accent that kept drifting off into Pakistani and prepping three of my players with independent dreams with a view to them sharing them as events unfolded at the table. All four worked very well (except for the aforesaid accent) and really helped us get involved. Although we had zero combat and a four-hour session, everybody was focussed and contributing (including my two 10-year olds). Apart from the fact that they killed one of my favourite NPCs for whom I had a great future planned, one of our best sessions yet.
The dream sequences worked exceedingly well; I sat each of them down separately one or two days ago, told them to close their eyes and then described what they saw in their dream, encouraging them to imagine it. I was a little concerned about doing this with the kids – I wanted to leave an impression but I didn’t want to give them nightmares. No worries there, it all ran smoothly. I actually made more of an impact with my 40+ year old colleague when I sat him down in my office, played some quiet, atmospheric background music and described the scene to him. It actually gave him goose-bumps!
At the appropriate time, the players related what they had seen in their respective dreams, drawing everybody into speculation about what had happened and making them feel as though they were really contributing to the game.
Anyway, here the three dreams. They probably won’t necessarily make a great deal of sense; essentially Lóegaire is the bad guy. He has just stolen a rather dangerous book from a monastery where it was in safe keeping. The Whitecloaks – a Templar-like group of rabid anti-magic crusaders – pick up his trail and chase him through a forest. Catching up with Lóegaire in a clearing, he uses the book to summon a demon and escape. Captain de Montfort, commander of the Whitecloaks bravely takes on the demon and kills it, but is mortally wounded in the process.
A Monastery. A cloaked figure is standing over a huge dark book on a reading stand. The room is made of stone blocks. The man furtively looks over his shoulder to make sure no-one is watching him. You get a glimpse of the face. It looks familiar, but you can’t place it. He spends some minutes muttering something whilst waving his hands over the book, then picks it up.
He runs down some stairs past two piles of clothes on the floor. No, wait, they’re not piles of clothes, they’re the bodies of two monks wearing habits and a strange haircut. There’s a pool of dark liquid on the paving stones beneath them.
The figure with the book runs off into the night.
The scene fades.
Forest. Dark trees slipping by at speed. The figure you saw before is now riding a horse fast through a forest. His hood is back and you can see his face, it’s Lóegaire Óengus, the Erewornian from Ingham village. He’s being chased by at least two-dozen riders with white cloaks.
Lóegaire breaks out of the trees into a huge clearing and the Whitecloaks spread out behind him to try to surround him. He stops in the middle of the clearing and faces his pursuers. He gestures with his hands and an inky blackness comes up out of the ground. The Whitecloaks surround the dark area nervously. It starts receding back into the ground. The horses rear and neigh as a horrific creature is revealed. It stands about as high as an ogre and instead of arms it has two long tentacles with which it starts whipping around. It knocks two of the soldiers from their saddles. The remaining soldiers draw their swords to attack. You see the soldiers’ leader and recognise him too – it’s Tobias de Montfort, the soldier who rescued you from the goblins. Whilst the soldiers are distracted by the monster, Lóegaire tries to make a run for it, but gets stopped by two of the Whitecloaks.
The rest close in around the monster, who is knocking soldiers all over the place with its arms. A long battle takes place, with the blows from the soldiers swords not seeming to make any difference. Sgt. de Montfort drops to his knees as if in prayer, holding his sword in front of him. It starts glowing with a white light. He gets up, runs to the monster, leaps and buries it up to the hilt in the monster’s chest. The monster roars out in pain, throwing de Montfort from him. Dark sticky blood sprays everywhere. The monster explodes, chunks flying everywhere. Where they land, they start steaming and dissolving. A lump lands on de Montfort’s chest. He isn’t moving.
The scene fades.
You’re watching rolling hills of grey material, moving slowly like waves. Here and there things are trying to break through the surface from below. You think you’re seeing the Veil Between Worlds, but it’s thick and they can’t break through. There are fixed transit points through to the Fae world. One close by looks sealed off – you recognise the stone that the Brethrin had come through.
Your attention is caught by a black tear in the fabric of the veil a little way off. Immediately something dark and perceptively evil forces its way through. This isn’t something from the Fae world, this is something from another place entirely. It feels wrong. Other. Malevolent. A real threat to the realm you are supposed to protect. The veil seals slowly behind it, but it’s through.
You wake up in a cold sweat despite the hot summer night.