Sunday, September 20, 2015

Epyllion: The Bearded Dragon

Yesterday, after some trial and tribulation, we played Epyllion. If you don't remember this game is a thing, that's no surprise, as it's been a while since we last played.

So! Last time, the drakes were headed south to White Falls, and stopped in a pine forest for the night. Azrael was uneasy; the ground felt weird to her, not hot and not cold, just sharp. Veris had a vision of a tree moving in the wind, its branches waving like a living thing, so he couldn't sleep. Freja had seen a brilliantly colored bird rolling sap from the trees into balls and carrying it away, but she hadn't been able to see where it went. Nova felt nervous; she kept seeing movement out of the corners of her eyes.

But, it was night, and drakes slept...except Veris. He picked up some of the grass and needles from the forest floor and tried to examine an object. The player failed the roll, so I took the opportunity to introduce an elder dragon. Veris saw flickers of movement, and realized it was a huge, serpentine dragon weaving through the trees.

He called out to the dragon to show himself, and the dragon did - it slithered out of the trees and wound around Veris, dwarfing him. Veris asked his name, and tried to stand up to an older dragon. The dragon introduced himself as the Bearded Dragon (more a title than a name), and indeed, he had a long, wispy white beard on his chin. The dragon also asked Veris and his friends to climb to the tallest treetops and get some of the nests of the birds that lived there, but to be back before sunrise. Veris studied the dragon, and learned that he wanted the nests, but that he was also having fun with the young drakes.

Veris headed back to camp and woke the others. He explained the situation. Nova wasn't thrilled (she didn't sign on for bird nest collection), but Freja was interested. She used scent of a place to get the lay of the land, and learned that there was magic here, and also danger. The dragons climbed up the tallest trees, and wound up getting sap on their hands.

Azrael licked the sap off, and immediately felt dizzy and euphoric. She stared at her hands, but didn't realize that her hands weren't on the tree, and fell. Nova tried to act despite danger and catch her, but missed, and Azrael landed in the branches and took some Harm. Veris went down to check on her, and Nova, having broken the treeline, flew up towards the highest treetops. She found that the winds were brutal up here.

Freja continued to climb, making good use of her prehensile tail, and acted despite danger to gather nests. She saw that the nests were made of pine needles and sap, and stuck to the sides of the trees. Some had sleeping birds in them, while others were vacant, old abandoned nests. Freja grabbed those and put them into her sling pouch.

Meanwhile, though, Azrael was enjoying her high and wanting to intensify it. She examined an object (the tree) looking for more sap...and saw the nests. She realized, too, that the sap intensified magic. She flew up toward the nests. Veris tried to hinder her, but failed. He looked to the east and saw sunlight creeping over the horizon...and the Bearded Dragon had warned them to be back on the ground before down.

Azrael grabbed a nest with a bird still in it, and ate it. She was rewarded with a suddenly explosion of awareness - the greens of the pile needles, the crisp morning air, everything just intensified. She flew back to get more, but Nova grabbed her and pulled her away. She tried to call on the storm moon, but Nova hindered her and she failed. The birds woke up, though, and dive-bombed Nova, pecking her wings, which started to go numb.

Freja, meanwhile, used wild speech to convince the birds to break off the attack. The birds agreed...if she would give back the nests. Not wishing to get into a fight or gain a Shadow Point, Freja agreed, and stuck the nests back on the tree.

Meanwhile, Nova was still falling toward the ground with Azrael, and her wings were too numb to fly properly. She acted despite danger, but didn't quite stick the landing, and let Azrael go so she could land safely. Azrael landed in a tree...face to face with the Bearded Dragon.

The Bearded Dragon slithered around until it found Freja, and asked where the nests were. Freja stood up to an older dragon to explain what had happened, and wound up throwing Azrael under the bus. The Bearded Dragon told them that they could maybe try again on their way back from White Falls (once the birds had calmed down), and that Azrael could look forward to a really awful hangover tomorrow. He also recommended they wash off the sap in the ocean. Nova, of course, was already licking the sap off her hands, and enjoying the buzz.

Next time: Perhaps we'll finally meet our fifth dragon!