Alright gents, it took a long while, but I managed to run this game during the time our club is closed for summer. Please excuse the typos. The game's setting was Ancient Athens 500 BC. My players were a sailor-thief, a winegrowing aristocrat, an old augur (a 4th player, who called shortly after we started, came over and joined in) and a male prostitute. Three of them were Athenian citizens, the prostitute was a metic. My original players thought out a nice way of knowing each other from earlier, the aristocrat had some shady dealings with both of them: spying on political opponents and acquisition of expensive items and land.
I have used some of the characteristics of Ancient Greek epic poetry, like the in medias res beginning of the story, but sadly forgot the extensive use of Homerian epithets, when describing NPCs and locations after a while. The story began in a gymnasion, where the sailor-thief and the aristocrat met 2 wealthy NPCs, a chariot maker and a merchant. The sailor-thief and the latter had a friendly boying match, which the former won. It was a pretty close fight though. Then they went to the gymnasion’s bathhouse and talked about that Peison fellow mentioned in my first post, who became an idiotes shortly after the birth of his son. The NPCs tell them, that a group of politicians is already talking about exiling Peison by ostracism for neglecting his civic duties. Then they left the gymnasion and agreed to meet at the aristocrats house for a symposion. The aristocrat hired the male prostitute for the evening and also called an augur to tell the future from the sacrificial animal’s entrails. The sailor-thief went to the harbour before the evening started and met a crooked Egyptian wheat merchant, who was smuggling some fine jewelry into Athens and they became pals.
I have done extensive research on how a symposion was run and this was the highlight of the story for me. They made the sacrifice, the augur told them about the lesions found in the entrails and the grim future they predict. The male prostitute and two female ones then performed a satyr play the lighten the mood. They then went to the andron, the men’s room of the house and the symposiarchos was chosen (it was the sailor-thief), who’s job it was to oversee the mixing of the wine (the old Greeks never drank pure wine) and the three libations for the three kraters about to be drunk that evening. Then they talked about the looming Persian threat and a LOT about politics and politicians: one archon trying to cheat during an ostracism by bringing dozens of pre-made ostraca with the name of a hated adversary with him. They talked about what punishment would be good for him, some advocated exile, others loss of citizenship and even death by poison. Then they talked about another old archon getting a heart attack while „visiting” a beautiful new Thracian hetaira, who’s skin is like mlik and hair is like fire. They all agreed to invite her next time. Other hot topics were a strategos in office for 6 years now, who could attempt to create a tyranny again and a prytanis, who the male prostitiute heard has a relationship with one of his Barbarian slaves and plays the part of the bottom. The Ancient Greeks abhorred such unmanly practice after all. They spoke about using this gossip to their advantage. They also talked about Peison, their friend who has been acting weird and the aristocrat decided to pay him a visit tomorrow afternoon. The male prostitute also told them, that he heard from the poorer citizens and metics, that Peison is looking for workers in his olive orchard. They also had a lengthy discussion about what time period (Hesiod’s Five Ages of Man) they are living in: the Age of Heroes or the Iron Age.
They visited Peison’s house the next day, but he was unfriendly and told them to leave and not bother him anymore. They spoke to one of his neighbour’s, an old man (the kind, who has nothing better to do, than sit around in front of his house and see who goes by), who said he hasn’t heard the cries of the newborn, nor seen Peison’s wife for months and that he freed all of his slaves 3 months ago. The male prostitute went to the olive orchard and by Luck managed to know one of the workers, a peasant named Dolios, who told him that they have to dig a hole in the side of the mountain. He also complained, that the olives are ripe and will go bad and that they have seen dozens of sand vipers in the orchard and are afraid someone will be bitten. The male prostitute then tracked down one of Peison's former slaves, an old woman named Althaia, who told him it all started 3 months ago, when their former master bought a new slave, a Greek from Mykonos named Xanthippos, who never ate and gave everyone the chills. He freed his old slaves shortly after and practically kicked them out of his home. Things started to become more and more strange, so all players agreed to investigate. They told Dolios to head to the Peison’s house at sundown to lure him to the orchard, so that the sailor-thief and the Egyptian merchant and some of his crew can burglarize his home. It worked, but they encountered Xanthippos and two Children of Yig, a Nubian sailor was bitten to death and the slave coldly told the „mammals” to flee or he will sick the snakes on them. They saw of course, that his shadow in the moonlight was everything except human: Xanthippos was a Serpent Man, a lurker from the time of the Second Empire. They of course ran like hell.
Meanwhile the prostitute snuck after Peison and saw him surrounded by snakes in his orchard and heard him mention the name of King Cecrops, the mythical half-serpent founder of Athens. That was enough for him to flee back as well. The sailor-thief and the prostitute gathered the others, met at the temple of Pallas Athene and told the priest everything. The poor old priest's head began to hurt from all the wild rambling about serpets on two legs, hundreds of snakes gathering near the city and talk about calling someone a mammal and cursing him, so he summoned some policemen (Athens had a 500 man strong police force of Scythian slaves). The group split up: the prostitute lead the policemen to the orchard while the others went to the aristocrat’s home to arm themselves. The three policemen infiltrated the orchard, but were killed by Children of Yig and Peison, who was wearing his cuirass, his Corinthian-style helmet and was armed to the teeth by this time. He talked to the prostitute about slaying everyone, who stands in the way of the city’s new golden age and Kings Cecrops and Erichthonius. He wanted to kill him too but the prostitute was quicker. He met the others halfway between Athens and the orchard and they decided to go back and kill Peison. The group had to make 3 Luck-rolls (done by the person with the lowest Luck) to avoid the snakes til reaching the pit. The prostitute fumbled the last so they had to fight a Child of Yig in the pit, which they managed to kill after a few rounds. Good for them that it has just started to dawn and being cold-blooded they were still very slow. They then used the skins of fish oil they brought to set the grass on fire and entered the large chasm at the bottom of the pit. They found an ancient network of black basalt tunnels and stone squares insribed with Aklo scripture, which they followed until they reached a room, where Peison and Xanthippos were waiting for them. The phrases „Foolish mammals, you have no idea of what ancient power you are facing! Your species was still barely different from the apes, when mine was already raising cities far more glorious, than your Athens!” were spoken by Peison’s slave. They could again notice, that his shadow was that of a monster. The augur managed to lose 5 SAN, became temporarily insane and started to scream and flail around with his torch like a lunatic. The others battled Peison and it was a close call. They then followed the Serpent Man into a very large chamber, where they saw him chanting amidst 24 stone caskets. Something started to rise from the one closest to them and a green-scaled, clawed hand reached for the ceiling. The sailor-thief used his bow, hit Xanthippos and his illuison disappeared. They saw a reptilian humanoid with orange eyes and blue scales in front of them. SAN-rolls were made and this time the arictocrat lost 6. He threw his weapons to the ground, charged the Serpent Man and beat him to a bloody pulp with his fists. The others quickly took care of the rising Serpent Wizards by stabbing them with swords and bashing their heads and rib cages in with rocks. Athens was saved from certain doom and we all had great fun.
My players missed a few planned clues in Peison’s house, like the triangular Serpent Man metal tablets and the Scrying Window the Serpent Man created with his magic and the coloured glass ordered by Peison to locate the chamber of the sleepers. If they would’ve found it then they could’ve seen the sacrificial chamber in all its glory, where the priests of Yig were sacrificing Neanderthals to their cruel god.
Edited by Nightbreed24, 06 July 2015 - 03:00 PM.