GURPS Banestorm PBBB narrative thread

This is the “narrative thread” for the GURPS game described at Possible PBBB laptop RPG game

This is where the game will actually be played, i.e. the GM’s description of events and the players descriptions of their actions.

The reason to do this on a separate thread is in order to keep the narrative easy to follow. Any commentary and meta-discussion should go onto the original thread instead.

In aid of keeping it easy to follow, it’d be good if everyone would put their character name in bold at the top of their posts.

Anyone is welcome to post on the original thread, but please don’t post to this thread unless you’re one of the game players.

Current player list:

@Daaksyde (Ranar Bolijyr, a dwarf; kind to kittens, lethal to humans)

@daneel (Jibrīl Al-Las’ah, a Wazifi rogue in the romantic mold)

@nimelennar (Blue Hawk, a barbarian shaman of dignity and rhythm)

@Mitchell (Nicolas de Courcy, a disreputable Aralaise captain of mercenaries)

@William_George (Thwip, a goblin of many talents)

Simplified version of the GURPS rules available for free at


Although you come to this place from widely diverse backgrounds, all of you find yourself now in the same location: Tredroy.

This is hardly surprising, as Tredroy is a natural attraction point for flotsam. Sited at the junction of the Lorian and Blueshoal rivers, on the three-way border of Cardiel, al-Haz and al-Wazif, Tredroy is a city divided in thirds both geographically and politically.

North Tredroy is under the control of the Caliph of al-Wazif, West Tredroy is ruled by the Sultan of al-Haz, while East Tredroy lies within the jurisdiction of the Prince of Cardiel. The city is managed, sometimes smoothly and sometimes uncomfortably, from the neutral ground of Council Island.

Although legal codes and social norms vary sharply between the three sections of the city, Tredroy is a vibrant trading town throughout. Goods constantly flow downriver from the trading hub of Gebel Thamad into Tredroy, then continue east down the Blueshoal River to the Mare Medium. A smaller flow of traffic comes north along the Lorian from western Cardiel.

Each of you has found yourself in East Tredroy, short of cash and in need of a job. Fortunately, Tredroy hosts the longest-established mercenaries’ guild in Ytarria. The lively nature of Tredroy itself combined with the constant flow of river traffic provides steady employment for people willing to get their hands dirty and not ask too many questions.

After registering at the Mercenaries’ Guild, you were told to go to the Valley Inn on Lion Street and ask at the bar for Cedric. On arrival, you find a picturesque and respectable riverside establishment in a prosperous neighbourhood just east of the Merchants’ Bridge. After asking the barman for “Cedric”, you are directed to a table in a dark corner at the back.

[PLAYER CUE: describe your entrances, in order of whoever posts first. i.e. first up enters and sits at an empty table, second is directed to a table already occupied by the first player, etc.]

Jibrīl Al-Las’ah

Jibrīl arrives, his cloak up, covering his face. It’s been a while since he’s been so close to somewhere controlled by the Sultan of al-Wazif, and he has learnt to be cautious. He takes a seat where he can watch the door and orders a cup of something that turns out to be almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee.

He makes sure both his daggers are loose and settles to wait.


Nicolas de Courcy, Lion Street

De Courcy slouched down the street towards the river, one hand shading his eyes from the painful light, trying to remember at exactly what point last night a halfling danced a jig on his head.

It wasn’t until he was almost at the Valley Inn he finally registered the stares of the respectable-looking folk giving him a wide berth.

The meet was obviously at a more reputable establishment than he expected. He cursed under his breath, and went looking for a reflective surface.

The Valley Inn, not long after
De Courcy paused in the doorway, letting his eyes adjust and taking note of the exits. His hair slicked, still slightly damp and a small cut on his hastily shaven jaw.
He orders a bit of the hair of the dog as “Cedric” directs him to a table occupied by a hooded man.

Blue Hawk:

Hawk leaves the Mercenaries’ Guild, the fetid air greeting his nostrils with a fresh assault. He has almost convinced himself that it really hadn’t been that bad out there, sheltered from the smell by the relative cleanliness of the Guild Hall, but exposure to the real thing proves that his memories of a few minutes ago have not been exaggerating, but rather minimizing, the actual pungence of the air.

Every so often, missionaries from Megalos come to the tribes and preach the wonders of civilization, which, he later learned, means “the art of living in cities.” The benefits the missionaries describe all sound nice, but he now doubts any of the tribesmen would have listened to a word out of the foreigners’ mouths if they had any familiarity with what “living in a city” entailed. Personally, Hawk doesn’t consider the sight or smell of surfaces covered in vomit, urine, or spirits know what other bodily fluids, “art.”

The Guildsman has given good directions, and Hawk finds a large building with a hand-painted sign depicting a fertile valley. He tilts his head for a moment, as something catches his eye. The shape of the hills, bisected by the valley, seem to look to him like a woman’s… But, no. The Guildsman said that this is a “respectable” inn, and sure enough, the paint looks fresh and the porch boards new and strong. From what his tribesmen have said, those “other” places tend to have a more weathered look to them.

Hawk enters the room and allows himself to take in the scents… and immediately sneezes, drawing attention to himself. The scent of perfume in the air is overwhelming, and he takes a moment to compose himself again. As he acclimates to the scent of perfume, he starts to smell the same malodour of stale sweat and filth that is outside; the people in here can just afford to mask it to save their nostrils. However, from the kitchen there comes a scent of cooking meat, which is itself a better perfume than any oil these city-folk have doused themselves with.

Having come to terms with the odours, good and bad, Hawk orders an ale from the bartender, and inquires after “Cedric.” He is directed to the corner table, and given a mug. He gives the bartender what he asks for the ale, plus a generous tip, and heads over to the table indicated. There is a man wearing clothing uncommon to this area — one of the desert countries? — and one wearing more local garb, patched and stained. If the former is Cedric, he is obviously using an alias; if the latter is, he probably does not have the resources to get him to Megalos.

Hawk sets his face into a “I am dealing with disreputable people in a foul-smelling place” scowl — which, to be fair, has been the expression on his face ever since entering this “city” — and decides to play the ignorant barbarian to see how these people will react. Being underestimated might certainly be to his advantage, if the patched-up man is as untrustworthy as he looks (and smells).

Seating himself at the table, Hawk glowers at each of them in turn, then speaks, chewing on each word as if he were uncertain of its meaning. “I am called Blue Hawk. Which of you is called ‘Cedric?’”


Jibrīl Al-Las’ah

Jibrīl took a sip from his ‘coffee’, restrained a shudder at the foul taste and observed the two newcomers.

The second man’s question was artless. Or perhaps, feigned. Likely, neither of these two were quite as they appeared. In the case of the smelly Aralaisian, Jibrīl certainly hoped so.

Still, why not play along?

Do I look like a ‘Cedric’?

Blue Hawk

“Do I look like a Cedric?” the desert man replies, answering Hawk’s question with a question.

This is interesting. Not a denial, not a confirmation. Hawk decides to be watchful of this one. He could indeed be their employer here, in which case it could hurt his opportunity to head north if he plays too dumb. The man in the well-worn clothing has not responded yet, and it would be rude to let the question hang any longer, so Hawk replies.

“Looks are not good to guess name. Any man can wear any name. I do not think I look much like blue hawk, but that is how I am called.”

Nicolas de Courcy

De Courcy had just pulled out a chair when the glowering Northman introduced himself. He paused, settling into his chair positioning himself what was hopefully upwind of the other two and sending up a silent prayer his hasty preparations were enough to keep in the running for the job.

He decided to just bull through; never let them see you sweat, even if they can probably smell it.

“Well, it seems none of us are Cedric. Although we are a… diverse…lot so far.”

" A, Wazifi?.. a nomad, and an Aralaise-man walk into a bar. I think I’ve heard this one before," he grinned.

De Courcy begins to extend his hand, but seeing the scowl seemingly etched on Blue Hawk’s face diverts it towards Not-Cedric.

“Nicolas de Courcy, and I have a shiny farthing that says Cedric is the last to show his face.”

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“Then that would be me,” announces the next man to arrive, “Morton J. Throckwoddle at your service.”

“Unless you’re not expecting me, because I’m here to meet a Cedric, and I just told you that wasn’t my name…” he looked around briefly and added “…that’s probably somebody who comes later, then.”

Blue Hawk

Hawk turns his attention to the newcomer, who is…

Who is a…

Hawk’s forehead wrinkles in confusion as he realizes that he has no idea what exactly this is. At first glance, it looks like a man wearing a fur coat, but upon closer inspection, the fur coat seems to be alive, and made up of a bunch of furry things.

Hawk tries to reach out to the spirits of the animals, but they don’t seem to have spirits. The man speaks his piece, first claiming to be Cedric, then claiming not to be Cedric. There is something unsettling about this man’s eyes: like those of the tall forest men, but imbued with a wildness instead of the timeless quality that the forest men usually have.

Hawk comes to a very uncomfortable confusion about this man, especially given that he’s also looking for Cedric, and thus would be travelling with them. Perhaps it would be best to come back later and join a different party. The shaman starts to edge his way out from behind the table. He decides that he’ll stand, offer a quick introduction, excuse himself to pick up some food at the bar, and then make his way out of this place as soon as possible. This seems like the best possible idea right now.

All the tribesman has to do is get out of this place before something else stops him from doing so…


@William_Holz @Daaksyde @daneel @nimelennar @Mitchell


As the recently-arrived Hawk stands, the barman approaches once more.

“Follow me please, gentlemen”

He beckons and leads you to a door behind the bar. As you all follow, you see that it leads into a short hallway containing several doors. The barman stops at the first door and knocks; after a muffled response, he opens the door and says “Allow me to introduce your patron, Lord Aronn”.

Inside the small windowless room (lit by an apparently magical lamp attached to the ceiling) is a table with half a dozen chairs. Seated at the end of the table is a figure dressed in black, cloaked and hooded in what appears to be silk. You cannot see a face; the hooded figure sits slumped and silent, as if asleep.

The barman ushers you into the room and encourages you to sit, then exits closing the door behind him. Throughout, his attitude was one of extreme deference to the figure seated at the end of the table.

After you are seated, Lord Aronn raises his head. As he does so, his hood slips back and you see the face of an elf, but like no elf you have seen before. It is not that he is of any unusual species; it is just that none of you have ever seen an elf who was so obviously sick before.

Aronn’s face is drawn and haggard, his eyes appear pained and exhausted, and it seems as if he speaks only by a great effort of will. If he was human, you’d say he was a man on the edge of death. As an elf, who knows?

He begins to speak, and his voice is strained and hoarse. He pauses for a gasping breath every few words, and seems to be trying to speak as little as possible.

“I intend a journey downriver…and require bodyguards. This…is the job on offer. You will…travel with me…providing protection…wherever I go. The job pays…one gold mark…per man…per week.”

After delivering this short speech, Aronn again slumps, apparently exhausted. He raises his hood, gathers himself for a second, and continues “We leave…downriver…in the morning. However…I have some business…in West Tredroy…this evening. An escort…could prove useful. Therefore…I will need you…to meet me here…two hours after sundown.”

He painfully pulls himself to his feet, and turns to a second door in the back of the room, clutching the handle for support. Opening the door, he leaves without another word, pulling the door closed behind him. It does not appear that he gave any consideration to the possibility that you might not accept the job.

[PLAYER CUE: you’re all still seated at the table, so now is a chance to chat with your fellow PCs, question the barman (who is back out in the main bar), etc. It’s about an hour until sunset, so you’ve got a bit of time to kill if you want to do any shopping. A gold mark is worth $200, BTW, and is substantially better than the typical mercenary rates of about $150/wk]

After wandering the streets for hours, taking many wrong turns (human cities are so strangely laid out), being sneered at by the local urchins, and questioned by suspicious guards, Ranar finally spots a sign matching the description given by the Mercenaries’ Guild. Taking a deep breath, he walks up and enters, taking a moment to scan the room and orient himself before heading to the bar. As the barman is pouring his mead, he asks whether Cedric is still around. “I…I w-was supposed to meet him earlier, but… I… I ran into… a few problems on the way.”

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GM note: while you’re all still sitting in the back room pondering Aronn’s exit, the barman returns, ushering a heavily armoured dwarf into the room.

“Is there anything I can help you lads with? Would you be wanting a drink and a meal, or accommodation for the night?”

GM infodump, background knowledge:

West Tredroy is the Hazi section of Tredroy. It is the smallest part of the city, and also the most conservative. The importation of alcohol, cocaine, hashish, opium or tea is illegal; magic is severely frowned upon (Hazi scholars equate Yrth magic with haram sorcery).

Entering West Tredroy from East Tredroy normally requires crossing a heavily guarded bridge. Members of the Mercenaries’ Guild are permitted to carry weapons in the city, but wandering about kitted up for a siege will draw attention. All infidels are required to wear a white armband while in al-Haz; failure to do so constitutes the crime of “impersonating a Muslim”.

Ranar Bolijyr

None of these people really looked like a potential employer, they had none of the trappings of wealth, power, nobility. But, here he was. And asking would be too awkward. So, somewhat stiffly, Ranar bowed slightly and then focused his eyes on nothing in particular, perhaps a sconce on the wall. “Greetings, Cedric, I am Ranar Bolijyr, how may I be of assistance?” Surely someone would speak up, and then he would know who was in charge.

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Nicolas de Courcy

“Nicolas de Courcy, pleasure to meet you,” he says, sketching a bow in return from his set.

“Perhaps you can help me with a thorny question; If were to tell you we’re being offered high pay, for an undefined period of time, for a seemingly simple job.”

De Courcy pauses for a sip from his cup, “What would you say was wrong with this picture?”

He lounges back in his chair, studying the faces of his mismatched companions. Although his eye seems to slip right past Morton and his bizarre menagerie.

Nicolas de Courcy

De Courcy lets the question hang for a few moments gauging the reactions around the table.
“You narrowly missed our perspective employer, Ranar,” he says gesturing in the direction of the door Lord Arron left by.

“Lord Arron, requires bodyguards for a trip up river, and to escort him while he conducts some business in West Tredoy this evening. And he’s paying over the going rate, and doesn’t seem too concerned about what skills, exactly, we’re bringing to the table which tells me a few things…”

With a final swig from his cup, de Courcy emphatically sets it down.

"One, he’s got more coin than time. Two, this job is a lot more dangerous than he’s letting on. And three, I’m not signing up until we’ve talked terms, and had a few questions answered.

“If we walk into this blinded by gold, we’re like to be dead before we spend a single blackened scunner of it.”

Blue Hawk

Hawk is preparing to leave when the barman comes back, and leads them to the private room with Lord Arron, the sight of which unnerves Hawk. The nobleman is rich and sick, which, as Hawk understood, just doesn’t happen. Rich men can hire the best healers, and magic is advanced enough that most common ailments and curses can be easily cured.

Hawk still doesn’t like the idea of joining a warband with these people, especially the tree-man. But he who asks for rain must not curse the spirits when he gets wet. These men will be going downstream to Megalos, and their sponsor is obviously involved with something powerful enough to put a curse that is not easily removed. This could suit his needs perfectly.

After de Courcy had finished delivering his own thoughts, Hawk speaks.

“This Lord Arron is sick. Does not seek healer — why?” Hawk pauses to let them think about that. "Must be strong curse. Powerful enemies this Lord Arron has.

"Shamans tell a story of a hunter who killed wolf for no need. He left wolf to be eaten by jackals, and its meat did not feed tribe, and its skin did not warm tribe, and its bones did not make tools for tribe.

"Wolf’s spirit stayed in body until jackals ate it away, instead of being released when Hunter took its skin. Enraged, Wolf’s spirit found Hunter, and drove away animals he hunted, and caused fleas to infest skins he wore, and howled in his ear when he slept.

"And Hunter went to three Shamans, and asked how to lay spirit to rest. The first Shaman could not remove the curse, but said to perform rite of cleansing over Wolf’s body. Hunter did this, but still Wolf cursed Hunter.

"The second Shaman could not remove the curse, but said to make a sacrifice to Wolf’s spirit. So Hunter found a rabbit, and killed and skinned it, and lay it down by Wolf’s bones. Hunter did this, but rabbit was left uneaten, and still Wolf cursed Hunter.

"The third Shaman could not remove the curse, but taught Hunter the sacred words to ask Wolf what he wanted. Hunter asked that night when Wolf howled in his ear, how curse may be ended, and Wolf fell silent. ‘Follow me,’ said Wolf, ‘and you will be cursed no more.’

"Hunter followed Wolf over the plains and up a tall mountain, into mists and clouds, and at last Wolf stood before Hunter, and said ‘Walk to me, and curse will be ended.’

“Hunter walked to where Wolf stood, but Wolf was standing on air, and Hunter fell, and fell, and fell, and died. And Hunter’s flesh was not cleansed, and his bones were not burned, and Hunter’s spirit remained trapped in his body until jackals ate it away.”

Having finished the story, Hawk looks around warily. “If curse is so strong that rich man’s shamans cannot lift it, Death will be needed to lift curse: rich man’s, enemy’s, or ours.”


Nicolas de Courcy

“The third one’s what concerns me. Well, a fifth of the third if I’m being completely honest,” de Courcy replies with a grin.

"Well, we all certainly wouldn’t want me to die. Very agreed!"