This week I read:
Elric: The Revenge of the Rose by Michael Moorcock
This was a refreshing return to entirely Elric-focussed stories, after last week’s Elric book which featured almost no Elric. I’m not really sure what else to say, it’s more sword-and-sorcery. Fun and entertaining, but there’s not really a larger ongoing narrative: there are common threads (the increasing tension between Law and Chaos, old characters hanging around and previous adventures referenced) but the stories are largely self-contained. Even the ones which directly refer to a previous story tend to include enough context that you don’t actually have to have read the other.
In this collection I most enjoyed the titular (and longest) story, The Revenge of the Rose which features a planar-hopping romp through the multiverse in pursuit of three magical sisters hunted by an ex-champion of the Balance now damned by Chaos. In that, and the other stories, we see just how disunited the Lords of Chaos are; but we also see how sterile and uninhabitable a world of pure Law would be too. Neither extreme is good, what mortals need is Balance.
The Halls of Arden Vul
The players are deep, deep in the dungeon. But they’re only level 1!
I started this session with a bit of meta-talk designed to increase their chances of survival. I pointed out that they had found a shortcut to get deep into the dungeon, far deeper than the well-known entrance, and that dungeons get tougher the deeper you go. I also pointed out that the NPC adventurers they’d seen down here outclassed them, and that those NPCs were in turn dramatically outclassed by the trolls. I reminded them to use their class features, such as dwarven infravision, to gain an advantage where possible.
And, you know what, it worked!
The players immediately changed tack from walking down dungeon corridors with flaming torches held high, to having a dwarf or two scout ahead in darkness and report back. They managed to avoid an encounter that would have almost certainly killed at least one PC, and took precautions to not be disturbed while they were investigating a promising location. They managed to find the tomb of a significant, named, historical figure and grab a bunch of treasure: enough to level them all up, pay for training, and still leave enough in the bank to be one of its highest value clients.
But they know they were pretty lucky, and I think they’ll probably head off to a safer part of the dungeon next time.