Manaburst: Session 2 (Bastion)

Nika was struck with a moment of shock as she found herself being yanked away from the plane of Broken and through the borderpost after Ada. There was no point in voicing her complaint though – no one would hear her as she shot along through the Blind Eternities.

Surviving the trip required a small portion of her attention.  Her spark did most of the work, keeping her body functioning while the alien energies pressed in, but with a little effort she was even able to keep them from her. There was little else to do but wait for the trip to end.

As Nika felt herself slip from the Blind Eternities, she quickly opened mouth to voice her complaint.   But instead of a fresh breath of air to use to expel her curse, she nearly choked on a mouthful of brackish muddy water.

Panicked, Nika opened her eyes and swiftly confirmed she wasn’t going crazy.  She was fully submersed in a brackish, muddy lake of some sort.  Nika saw the shadowy shapes of what appeared to be her companions struggling to reach the surface nearby.  A few swam to the surface but two particular silhouettes caught her eye.  The first was the distinct form of Gaeleth, her feathery wings bent and twisted around her as she fought her way to the surface.  The second was Ada, who had simply ceased her struggle and was letting her artificial body – which had no need for air – sink to the bottom from where she could simply walk to the shore.

Nika herself made it to the the surface with little effort.  She started to get a look around the area, but everything erupted into chaos.  Quick glimpses were all she was able to take in before she was forced to react.

She saw she was in the middle of a small lake, muddy and dim, surrounded by a damp forest.

She saw a canoe directly in front of her, containing a startled middle aged man staring back at her in surprise as she surfaced.

She saw the Nero already reaching one of the nearby shores.

She saw a robed figure surface near her that seemed familiar but who’s face she didn’t have time to place.

She saw a long fleshy tongue dart out of the reeds at the lake’s edge and splinter the canoe, sending its occupant tumbling into the water.

She saw the tongue retract towards some sort of beast at the lakes’s edge; large but haunched over beast clearly some sort of troll, but slimy and pudgy.  The beast opened its mouth and bellowed a… was that a croak? in challenge.

Even as Nika reached the shore, Nero was already racing towards the amphibious beast, darting between branches and dodging flicks of its tongue.  As Nika slipped into the woods to flank the creature, the air above the pond erupted in a fireball, sucking the warmth from the area around the small clearing and sending a shiver down her spine.

Nika heard the drier upper branches of the trees catch on fire only a few moments before she smelled it.  Turning back she saw the robed figure – having reached the shore – laying on its back where the explosion of a botched fire spell had knocked it from its feat.

“Oh, right. That’d be Ibrand.”

How the fire mage arrived wasn’t an immediate concern, so she pushed it to the back of her mind and continued slipping soundlessly through the forest.  She had almost reached her target when the frog troll’s tongue finally caught up to Nero, snatching a leg out from under him and sending him tumbling to the ground.  It reacted quickly, throwing its tongue like a lasso to snag him for consumption.

Nero reacted even faster.  As the fleshy lasso darted towards him, he rolled aside and to his feet, drawing his blade and stabbing it through the troll’s tongue and the tree trunk behind it.  The creature reacted in shock, and before it could pull itself free Nika rushed in.

She reached within a few paces and lept into the air, grabbing on to a stout branch of one of the younger trees. Before her weight caught, she sent her magic coursing down its trunk, softening it’s tissue into a flexible mesh.  Instead of holding her weight, the treetop whipped downward like a hammer, it’s burning boughs crashing into the troll and scorching it’s slimy hide.  The frog troll croaked in terror, tearing its tongue free from Nero’s blade and fleeing into the forest.

By the time the creature had dissapeared into the trees, Nika, Ada, and Gaeleth (who had concealed her angelic presence behind her humanform fleshmask) were trying to help the nearly-drowned canoeman while the others tried to deal with the burning trees.  The swampy vegetation was wet enough that the fire wasn’t spreading quickly but they still had to work to contain it.

They calmed him long enough to learn his name was Katan and that he was from a nearby village named Talousholt and was fishing, but when he asked who they were their replies sent him back into histeria.  Nika and Ada began talking about sorcery and planeswalking and such, pointing his attention to the fires above… just in time for Grrk to complete the spell to extinguish them.

A layer of mud nearly a hands-width deep lifted up into the air and flung itself into the trees, coating everybranch and smothering the fires.  The coating dripped for a few moments before the goblin directed it back down from the trees, glopping to the ground with a wet thwump.

Between the talk of witchcraft, destructive magics, and the being startled by the goblin’s mudcraft, Katan’s fear won out and he scrambled away from the planewalkers and ran into the jungle. Gaeleth tried to stop him but realized he was hysteric and that the planeswalkers weren’t going to be able to do anything for him and letting him return home on his own was for the best.

After making sure that the fires were completely out and collecting a few fish from the superheated lake for a later meal, Nika was able to lead the group around any significant dangers in the swampy forest. But once away from the lake they needed to decide where to go. Gaeleth volunteered to shed her fleshmask and take to the skies above the forest to get a look around and see if there was anything nearby worth heading towards.

From the higher vantage-point Gaeleth was able to see the miles and miles of rolling plains that stretched out from the forest, checkered with plowed fields and dotted periodically with the silhouettes of farmhouses. Further down the road in one of the many valleys the larger gathering of buildings of a town could be seen. The planeswalkers decided to head to the hamlet and try and get their bearings and find out more about the plane they were on.

An hour later they reached the edge of the forest and found themselves near a road that Gaeleth said should lead to the village she had seen from the air. Night was fast approaching but they traveled for a few more hours before making camp, ultimately deciding not to wander in to the town during the middle of the night.

* * * * *

Session 2 was the last session of Manaburst that I’m going to be running for a little while.  With my current work schedule I wasn’t able to continue putting the amount of prep work into the game that I thought it deserved, so one of the other players volunteered to take over gamemastering for a while.

I’m a few sessions behind on these write ups but it’s going well IMO.  Thankfully I recorded the sessions as a method of note-taking and have been referring to them to catch up.  With any luck I won’t lose any details to the depths of a poor memory.