Bloodweave, Lizard Scales
Episode One: Caravan to Urupa

Click here to return to the Campaign Index.

SPOILER ALERT! Scenario is based upon "Caravan to Ein Erris", from GURPS: Basic Set, 3rd edition.

As our first adventure using the new ruleset, I chose a relatively simple one - few monsters and little magic - to give us a chance to learn and test the rules.

One of the largest caravans in history is being organized in Travar by Halmaro, Guildmaster of the Southern Merchant's Guild. The caravan is carrying wedding gifts to Urupa; one of Halmaro's daughters is being wed to the Prince of Urupa. Of course, the caravan has also attracted all sorts of followers and hangers-on.

(In our campaign, Urupa in times long past was a principality; it now has a progressive, elected government, but the Prince still holds influence by ancient custom. This may not be exactly canon...)

Two Adepts - Nasara and Gorin - are among those trying to hire on to the caravan. The local custom is to hold a series of contests, rather than job interviews, to see who gets which job (the natives of Travar are known for glib tongues). Nasara swiftly completes her contests - a series of mock duels - and is hired as a guard. (Among the people she beat was a brawny human by the Name of Maxwell, who was also hired on for making a good showing.) Gorin, however, failed in his tests of animal handling through pure bad luck. However, the next contest was a series of camel races; Gorin interfered by befriending all of the camels and getting them to saunter over to his end of the track instead of racing. He was hired on the spot, despite the protests of the racers.

At the "One For The Road" pre-caravan party, Nasara is approached by an agent of Halmaro's chief wife Katsaya. (Katsaya is a strong political player in her own right - the marriage is strictly political - and not a person you would wish to cross.) The agent offers Nasara a job: keep an eye out for anything of interest and let Katsaya know, and be prepared to be asked for future tasks. The cash is up front, so Nasara accepts without hesitation.

Nasara, Gorin, and Maxwell are all (coincidentally) assigned to the advance party - a small team that will take a short cut across the desert and plains to make preparations in the towns ahead on the caravan trail. Their "leader" Farvaro is the sort to make you wonder how he ever got the job; a lazy bully, his only hobby is gambling for embarassing forfeits...and cheating at it. The group encounters the usual desert caravan fun: bandits, a sand storm, and getting lost. The latter was due to Farvaro's insisting on his reading of the map; Halmaro, pissed as hell when the advance party turns up several days late, ejects Farvaro from the Guild.

One day, Katsaya's agents ask Nasara to track down a thief who stole one of Katsaya's necklaces. When Nasara finds him, she simply stares him down; he hands over the necklace without a word.

Another day, a lion from a menagerie following the main group escapes; Gorin is able to track it and subdue it.

The caravan stops at the wedding of a dwarven chief knwon to Halmaro. The group carries the presents, and Nasara offers her clan brooch as a gift, saying, "If you ever need help, just contact me through the Blue Sky Clan..."

Halmaro discovers that his and Katsaya's daughter Kira - the one everyone thinks is the bride-to-be - has vanished. A ransom note is found, in her hand-writing: she's been captured by bandits (it says), leave a large sum of silver at a certain location, etc. Halmaro has learned to be suspicious of anything involving Kira and money - and so sends the advance group to investigate.

Behind the scenes: Kira and the bandit leader had actually run off together, cooking up the ransom scheme to get some cash. However, after a week or two together, the brigand decided he's much rather have 500 gold pieces than Kira and 500 gold pieces - she is quite the spoiled bitch - so he tied her up to ransom her for real.

Nasara and Gorin go in to scout out the bandits' camp at night, while Max stays behind to act as a decoy. The two locate what they think is the correct tent, cut open the back and step through, discovering that it is in fact a sleeping tent just across from the prisoner tent. Nasara assassinates one of the sleeping brigands, but then Gorin stumbles into a cot and a weapons rack, rousing remaining bandits. Gorin had fallen out of the tent back and was out of sight, so only Nasara is captured; fortune protects fools.

Nasara is tied up, conveniently, in the same tent as Kira; in no time, she's working at breaking her bonds. Gorin, meanwhile, finds himself by the corral for the brigands' horses. After much complaining to himself about his lot in life, he finally decides to steal one and stampede the rest as a distraction. It works - the horses blitz through the camp and get the bandits chasing after - but Gorin has no riding ability, so his mount is swept along with the rest. In the confusion, Nasara (with Kira slung over her shoulder) is able to escape.

Gorin rides over hill and dale, and is eventually caught up to by the angry bandits. Just before they reach him, Gorin gets a burst of inspiration: he will stand up on his horse's back and jump over his pursuers, giving him time to find a hiding place in the darkness. This would be a great idea, if Gorin had any acrobatics talent at all. He doesn't. In fact, he fails his jump so miserably that he falls and breaks both legs. He still tries to fight, despite this injury; the brigands merely laugh and knock him unconscious.

When a rescue party from the caravan shows up a couple of days later, they find Gorin tied up in the center of an empty clearing, and no sign of the bandits within miles. Gorin spends the next week recuperating under the care of a good healer.

Kira runs off with a camel herder a few days later - no one seems to care, strangely. The caravan keeps going, but Halmaro's right-hand man Tsorvano takes a small party to stop off at a nearby temple of Garlen. It is revealed that Halmaro had a daughter, Riana, from one of his other wives (a sister of Tsorvano who died in childbirth), and never revealed her existence to Katsaya; Riana is to wed the Urupan Prince!

So Riana has just discovered that she's entering a fairy tale: she has a secret parent, an evil step-mother, and is about to marry a prince! She takes it well, actually - Riana is a lot nicer than Kira.

Of course, Katsaya eventually finds out, because Nasara tells her. Nasara isn't pleased with the next order she receives, however: to join in an attempt to assassinate Riana. Nasara thinks about it a moment, then tells Tsorvano before the raid. Together, the advance group is able to hold off the assassins, saving Riana's life and exposing Katsaya's plot. Katsaya decides to go and visit her homeland for a while...

The caravan rides into Urupa with proper fanfare. Riana and the Prince are wed, and the party goes on for weeks. Eventually, Nasara leaves the city to continue her explorations...and is perplexed to find a naive young dwarf by the Name of Gorin following her around...("Hey, adventuring buddy, what'll we do next?" "Go away, squirt!")

Page content Copyright 2000-2001, William Spencer, in association with Brandon Ove and Daniel Spencer.
This material is unofficial and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games, R. Talsorian Games, Hero Games, the Fuzion Labs Group, FASA, or Living Room Games. GURPS is a registered trademark of SJ Games; all rights reserved. FUZION(TM) is a trademark of the Fuzion Labs Group, an association between R. Talsorian Games and Hero Games; all rights are reserved by those two companies. It is Copyright 1997 The Fuzion Labs Group. Earthdawn is a registered trademark of FASA Corporation, used under license by Living Room Games; all rights are reserved by those two companies. It is Copyright 1999, 2000 FASA Corporation; additional material is Copyright 2001 Living Room Games.